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Customs Officials Nab Underwear Diamond Smuggler

In their efforts to collect taxes, workers of the Israel Tax Authority allow nothing to stand in their way – not even a pair of underwear.
By Yaakov Levi
First Publish: 4/10/2014, 12:07 PM

Diamonds (illustrative)
Diamonds (illustrative)
Flash 90

In their efforts to collect taxes due the government, workers of the Israel Tax Authority allow nothing to stand in their way – not even a pair of underwear, which is where they discovered a stash of undeclared diamonds earlier this week.

It should be noted that the diamonds were discovered in the underwear – as it was being worn by its owner. The diamonds were estimated to be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The incident occurred Monday at the entry point to Israel at the Allenby Bridge, the main thoroughfare from Jordan into Israel. Customs officials were processing a group of tourists from India, with one of the tourists acting in “a suspicious manner,” according to customs officials. The officials conducted an extensive search of the tourist's belongings, discovering a large number of diamonds inside a wooden box.

There are no customs duties or value added tax fees on diamonds coming into or going out of Israel. However, imported diamond must include a statement from authorities in the exporting country attesting that they are not “blood diamonds,” sourced in African countries where warlords and terror groups force workers to mine diamonds under dangeorus circumstances for no pay. The tourist did not have the necessary documentation, officials said.

The tourist was detained for questioning, and told customs officials that he had brought the diamonds to Israel in order to sell them. During questioning, the tourist was notably uncomfortable, and seemed unable to sit straight – further raising officials' suspicions. Officials courteously asked the tourist to disrobe, and discovered hundreds more diamonds – taped into his underwear.

The tourist was questioned, while the diamonds were confiscated and will be held until their origin can be determined. If they turn out to be “kosher,” the tourist will have to pay a fine in order to redeem them.

The fate of the underwear is not known.