Interpol probes Leviev’s Namibian diamond factory

Case has now developed to the stage that the police suspect an international diamond theft syndicate to be involved.

By GLOBES CORRESPONDENT
August 19, 2011 07:11
1 minute read.
The Jerusalem Post

Diamonds 311. (photo credit: Bloomberg)

 
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Namibia has called in Interpol to help its police force investigate the diamond factory of Lev Leviev Diamonds (LLD), The Namibian reported this week.

“In January this year, the Namibian Police confiscated 1,825 diamonds during a routine inspection, suspecting that they were not polished in Namibia as LLD employees could not present their manufacturing history to the Namibian Police,” the paper reported.

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“At the time, LLD accused an expatriate Israeli employee, Gabi Sheetrit, of being behind the questionable package, saying Sheetrit wanted to steal the diamonds,” the report said. “But the case has now developed to the stage that the police suspect an international diamond theft syndicate to be involved.

“When the police confiscated the 1,825 stones, Sheetrit said LLD quietly arranged for him to leave Namibia. He said the company even initially paid his legal fees as he became implicated in the case and continued to pay his salary until last week...

“In an affidavit sent to the Namibian Police from Israel, Sheetrit admitted he received diamonds that were allegedly smuggled into Namibia, but insists he acted on the instructions of the Tel Avivbased company’s management. He has offered to return to Namibia to testify against LLD if he is granted immunity.

“However, LLD Namibia managing director Kombandayetu Kampwanga claims that Sheetrit attempted to steal the 1 825 polished diamonds worth about N$26 million from the factory. It is not clear why LLD was unable to explain to the Police the processing history of the stones,” the report said.

The newspaper quoted the Interpol representative in Namibia as saying Interpol has made “significant progress,” and “there are a few countries involved” apart from Namibia and Israel.

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