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Two Israeli men caught for smuggling blood diamonds
IDE sends strong statement to the industry against such attempt
By: Diamond World News Service
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Dec 27 2010 8:52PM
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Reference: 5594  

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Israel, which has been the Kimberly Process Chair this year, has witnessed two Israeli men, namely David Vardi and Gilad Halachmi attempting to smuggle blood diamonds from Marange, Zimbabwe, worth around $140,000, reports say. Further reports suggest that both were arrested recently at the Ben Gurion Airport, Israel, and were released by the Israel Tax Authority (ITA) under certain restrictions. Later, the Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE) expelled David Vardi from trading in the bourse, making a strong definite statement to the industry against such attempts, reports say.

The ITA has stated that Vardi had asked Halachmi to smuggle the diamonds on his behalf. Halachmi is neither a member of the Israeli Diamond Exchange (IDE) nor part of the diamond trade, reports the ITA. Vardi has admitted to having procured the diamonds from a Lebanese diamond merchant in Zimbabwe, and that the rough diamonds did not carry a KP certification and were worth $140,000. He also admitted to having taken the help of Halachmi.

So far, no diamond exports are permitted from Zimbabwe, as negotiations continue between Zimbabwe and Kimberley Process to certify Marange production.

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