Three Indians arrested in $1 million Israel diamond sting

Three Indians arrested in $1 million Israel diamond sting

Indian businessmen filmed tried to buy Israeli firm’s patented diamond cutting and polishing software

Sue Surkes is The Times of Israel's environment reporter.

Diamonds (Photo credit: Nati Shohat/Flash90)
Diamonds (Photo credit: Nati Shohat/Flash90)

Three Indian nationals are under arrest in Israel after allegedly attempting to bribe an Israeli to leak patented diamond cutting and polishing software for $1 million.

Two of them were caught on camera trying to hand over cash in a pre-planned police sting, Channel 2 News revealed Tuesday.

A third — an Indian who has lived in Israel for many years — was detained on suspicion of having supplied money for the deal.

The attempted scam began several months ago, when an Indian contacted several staff members at Sarine Diamond Technologies, which develops software for the diamond industry for functions such as cutting and polishing raw stones.

The man offered $1 million for the software, in exchange for a business partnership, in correspondence via the social networking service LinkedIn.

Police swoop on two Indian businessmen as they try to seal a $1 million deal to illegally buy diamond polishing software from Sarine Diamond Technologies. (Screenshot Channel 2 News, September 5, 2017)

Sarine, based in Hod HaSharon on the coastal plain,  turned to Wizman Yaar Investigations, which planted an agent at the company to pose as the person responsible for all of Sarine’s computer development.

The agent corresponded with the Indians, who came to Israel to meet with him in June.

Footage taken with a hidden camera shows one of the Indians offering to hand over $100,000 immediately and the other one asking for a discount on the $1 million. The agent replies that the price is fair because he has to access five different kinds of software, the design documents and the list of suppliers.

Sarine’s deputy director for products Rony Ben-Ari told Channel 2 that the men also asked for drawings of the machine in question and names of suppliers for parts.

An Indian businessman caught on camera offering an agent who posed as an employee of Sarine Diamond Technologies a $100,000 down payment on an illicit $1 million deal to buy patented diamond cutting and polishing software. (Screenshot Channel 2 News, September 5, 2017)

The agent and the businessmen agreed on an advance of $200,000 in exchange for one part of the software, on the understanding that they would get the rest if they brought the full sum of cash.

It was as one of them drew from his bag a large packet containing wads of money that investigators from the Tel Aviv district fraud squad burst into the room and arrested them.

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