Leviev diamond company urges AG to probe police role in employee’s suicide

Leviev diamond company urges AG to probe police role in employee’s suicide

LLB Diamonds, at center of investigation into alleged gem smuggling, says pressure and threats led Mazal Hadadi to jump from 10th floor of Ramat Gan Diamond Exchange

Mazal "Mazi" Hadadi. (Facebook)
Mazal "Mazi" Hadadi. (Facebook)

The company at the center of a massive police investigation into alleged diamond smuggling called on the attorney general on Wednesday to launch an “independent and urgent” probe into the death of Mazal Hadadi, the book keeper who apparently jumped to her death on Tuesday from the tenth floor of the firm’s offices at the Ramat Gan Diamond Exchange after police questioning.

The company, LLD Diamonds, owned by Russian-Israeli diamond billionaire and philanthropist Lev Leviev, 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.

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.

Mazal Hadadi’s funeral, Holon, November 21, 2018. (YouTube screenshot),

It was also reported that the authorities wanted to question Leviev himself for questioning but that the tycoon was refusing to return to Israel.

At her funeral in the central city of Holon on Wednesday, friends and family charged that Hadadi had no reason to commit suicide.

Husband Kobi lashed out at the Lahav 433 anti-fraud unit for having subjected her to undue pressure.

“There’s a black cloud hanging over Lahav 433. They abused her,” he was quoted as saying.

“The investigator screamed at her and I begged them to leave off. I waited for her outside for three hours,” he said.

One of Hadadi’s close friends poured cold water on claims that the death was a suicide and said she hoped the police would conduct a “serious investigation” to find out what had really happened.

The friend, who asked not to be named, said Hadadi’s children were her whole world.

“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,” she said, adding, “Every time we met, she talked only about her children.”

Sources close to the investigation told the news channel that Hadadi — not a central suspect in the case — had been questioned several days before, along with other employees.

Illustrative: The offices of Israel Police’s Lahav 433 Unit in Lod. (Flash 90)

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.”

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 Israel’s Channel 10 news, police were considering Leviev’s extradition from Russia, where he recently moved from London.

In a statement, Leviev’s company LLD Diamonds said it had no information about the arrests, according to the report.

Lev Leviev at a gathering for Jews from Bukhara, Uzbekistan, held in Tel Aviv on January 13, 2013. (Yossi Zeliger/ Flash90/File)

“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.

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