The husband of a woman being investigated in a massive diamond smuggling probe who died after falling from a building this week is denying that his wife jumped to her death and alleging abuse by police.
According to authorities, Mazal Hadadi a bookkeeper with diamond firm LLD, died after jumping from the 10th floor of the Diamond Exchange Building in Ramat Gan Tuesday.
The alleged suicide shined a critical light on investigators looking into allegations of diamond smuggling by the firm, owned by Russian-Israeli mogul Lev Leviev, with reports indicating that Hadadi, 42, had been pressured by police despite her relatively junior role at the company.
Her husband Kobi Hadadi told the Kan public broadcaster Thursday that he did not believe his wife was capable of committing suicide, and alleged that there may have been foul play in her death.
According to Hadadi, his wife left work Tuesday afternoon, and ran into a friend, who said she seemed “normal and was heading home.” After that, she returned to work and fell from the building.
“She wasn’t connected to the diamond case. The truth is hidden in those 40 minutes where something unknown happened, before she died,” he said.
At her funeral in the central city of Holon on Wednesday, friends and family also charged that Hadadi, a mother of 3, had no reason to commit suicide.
“I don’t see any reason for her to have committed suicide. She was an amazing woman, her husband is amazing, they were a couple who loved their children,” a friend said, adding, “Every time we met, she talked only about her children.”
According to Hadashot news, a check of the building’s security cameras showed nobody else on the 10th floor when Hadadi’s death occured. The Thursday report did not detail if the check was carried out by the police or the firm.
After the alleged suicide, LLD claimed it had information suggesting that investigators had subjected Hadadi to severe pressure and threats that caused her serious mental distress, Hadashot News reported.
In a letter, the company charged that an investigator had called her just half an hour before she was found on the sidewalk beneath her office window.
Kobi Hadadi has also lashed out at police for putting undue pressure on her.
He told Kan that police had also called and yelled at him about his wife’s predicament.
“The investigator called me and began to yell so she would hear, that she is going to jail and she needs a lawyer. He said it six or seven times,” he said.
He described her as “broken” after the interrogation.
According to Hadashot, the decision to call the husband only came after Hadadi broke down in tears during her questioning by investigators from the Lahav 433 anti-fraud unit, and refused their suggestion of a lawyer.
Sources close to the investigation told the news channel that Hadadi — not a central suspect in the case — had been questioned several days before her death, along with other employees.
A police statement said that while “we regret the tragic results of the incident which took place at the exchange in Ramat Gan,” the force would not comment further for reasons of privacy and because the probe into the cause of Hadadi’s death was reaching a climax.
It added that, “Any attempt by interested parties to link the tragic case to the professional management of the investigation suggests a lack of familiarity with the facts and is likely to mislead the public.”
Earlier this month, it was revealed that Leviev’s son and brother had been arrested, along with four others, in connection with a smuggling operation that brought hundreds of millions of shekels’ worth of diamonds into Israel hidden in suitcases.
It was also reported that the authorities wanted to question Leviev himself but that the tycoon was refusing to return to Israel.
The alleged smuggling case was cracked with the aid of one of the suspects who turned state witness after he was stopped six months ago at Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport carrying a diamond worth a million shekels ($270,000), the Globes website reported.
According to Channel 10 news, police were considering Leviev’s extradition from Russia, where he recently moved from London.
In a statement, Leviev’s company LLD said it had no information about the arrests, according to the news report.
“The company knows nothing of the events reported in the media,” the statement said. “Mr Leviev and the companies he owns operate according to the appropriate norms, and in compliance with the law. We hope that the matter will quickly be clarified and that the suspicions will turn out to be baseless.”
Born in the then-Soviet republic of Uzbekistan, Leviev moved to Israel at age 15 but has lived in London for much of the past decade. He is a major supporter of many Jewish causes, including Chabad-Lubavitch, the Hasidic sect that focuses on outreach to Jews around the world.