Interpol probes Leviev's Namibian diamond factory

"The Namibian" reports that diamonds were allegedly smuggled into the country.

Namibia has called in Interpol to assist the Namibian police in investigating the diamond factory of Lev Leviev Diamonds (LLD), "The Namibian" reports.

The newspaper reports, " 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 Namibian added, "At the time, LLD accused an expatriate Israeli employee, Gabi Shitrit, of being behind the questionable package, saying Shitrit wanted to steal the diamonds. But the case has now developed to the stage that the police suspect an international diamond theft syndicate to be involved."

The newspaper continues, "When the police confiscated the 1,825 stones, Shitrit 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."

According to the "Namibian" "In an affidavit sent to the Namibian Police from Israel, Shitrit admitted he received diamonds that were allegedly smuggled into Namibia, but insists he acted on the instructions of the Tel Aviv-based companys management. He has offered to return to Namibia to testify against LLD if he was granted immunity."

However, LLD Namibia Managing Director Kombandayetu Kampwanga claims that Shitrit 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 newspaper quotes the Interpol representative in Namibia, Chief Inspector Immanuel Sam, as saying that Interpol has made significant progress and that there are a few countries involved apart from Namibia and Israel, but he declined to name them. Sam said it was a matter of time before an arrest was made.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on August 18, 2011

Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2011

 
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