Israel diamond body expel member for blood stones

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
December 28, 2010 17:01

 
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Israel's Diamond Exchange says it has expelled a longtime member for attempting to smuggle illegal Zimbabwe blood diamonds into the country.

Spokesman Assaf Levin said Tuesday that the bourse expelled David Vardi after he was arrested at Israel's international airport last week with about $200,000 worth of illegal Zimbabwe stones. He said his organization "will not tolerate dealing in blood diamonds."

Zimbabwe is banned from exporting diamonds under the Kimberley Process, the 75-nation regulatory group that seeks to end the trade of so-called blood diamonds, which fund violence in Africa.

The Israeli Tax Authority said customs officials randomly selected Vardi for inspection at the airport and found his pockets full of diamonds.

Israel currently chairs the Kimberley Process.

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