Top diamond exchange official arrested in Hungary

Israel Diamond Exchange vice president Avraham Traub was arrested for allegedly illegally taking rough diamonds out of Russia.

Sources inform “Globes” that police arrested Israel Diamond Exchange vice president Avraham Traub in Hungary over the weekend. The arrest was at the request via Interpol of the Russian police, who suspect Traub of illegally exporting rough diamonds and issued a warrant for his arrest.

Israel Diamond Exchange president Shmuel Schnitzer confirmed the report. Traub serves as acting Diamond Exchange president in Schnitzer's absence. Schnitzer added, "The Diamond Exchange's management believes in Traub's innocence and is waiting for further information. Traub's family has hired a local lawyer to handle his case.

Traub is considered one of Israel's top diamond merchants, even though he is a first-generation merchant. His family business, Avraham Traub Diamonds, operated jointly with his son, is not on the list of Israel's top 30 exporters, but it is considered a prominent and active player in the market. The company has an estimated $15-20 million in business a year.

Close associates were stunned by the news of Traub's arrest. One of them told "Globes" that the Russian authorities had probably decided to use him to set an example to prove that they are now abiding by previously unfulfilled regulations.

Russian law forbids the export of rough diamonds. However, several merchants who traded with Russia in the past said the authorities had never implemented the law.

Published by Globes [online] - - on October 12, 2003

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