Behind Leviev’s empire

Pressure is mounting from all sides on Lev Leviev, Israeli billionaire whose empire is built on corruption, abuse, illegal practices and the blood of people from Angola to New York to Palestine.

Leviev has also been implicated in human rights violations in Angola:

Adalah also trumpets charges by the Business and Human Rights Resource Group, an international NGO, that security firms used by Leviev to guard his diamond-mining operations in Angola have committed “systematic violations of human rights … including the use of torture” against Angolan diamond miners; and condemned alleged “abusive real estate development schemes” in New York by Leviev and former partner Shaya Boymelgreen.

Angolan journalist and human rights activist, Rafael Marques has documented human rights violations [Operation Kissonde] and the impact of diamond mining on one million people in Angola. The violations by private
security firms for the mines are described as sadistic…

includes beating their victims on the buttocks, undressing them and making them circulate naked or semi-naked in public, as well as other rituals of humiliation. They use, as distinct instruments of torture, shovels, or the handles of shovels, clubs and machetes. In the particular case of Alfa-5, various cases have been documented in which the victims are forced to carry out homosexual acts. In one particular case, a son-in-law was forced to violate his father-in-law.


seizure of land for building illegal settlements in Palestine:

According to El-Kadi, an IT professional, “We are trying to copy the strategy of the residents of Bil’in who have been holding nonviolent demonstrations for three years protesting the seizure of their land for settlement-building. Leviev is targeting the villagers of Bil’in and Jayyous, and we are committed to targeting him in return.”

Ethan Heitner, a leader of Adalah whose parents are Israelis, said, “We are pleased with the energy of these demonstrations and believe we have found a creative way to deliver our message. We plan to keep these demonstrations going on a regular basis until Leviev stops building settlements and abusing human rights.”


and using “underpaid and non-union workers” to build his billion dollar real estate business in New York:

In New York City, Leviev and Boymelgreen have employed underpaid, non-union workers in hazardous conditions and violated housing codes to construct luxury apartments that displace low-income and moderate-income residents in Brooklyn, provoking local branches of the Laborer’s International Union and ACORN to launch a campaign against these abuses. Brooklynites remain concerned that Leviev and Boymelgreen are key developers in the planned Gowanus Village project.

And the source of Leviev’s wealth. diamond trading with the Apartheid government of South African. He became a De Beers site owner during the apartheid regime in South Africa, enabling him to bid on De Beers diamonds and build up his wealth; sole ownership of all marketing of Angolan diamonds as well as other mining interests.

Leviev Mining: Leviev Group including Angola Selling Corp (or Ascorp) owned with Angolan Government [50%]. Leviev claims he sold the idea to the Angolans by promising to “increase revenue and channel the diamonds through one source” cutting out middlemen and allowing the government to maintain control of the diamond flow along with Leviev making it easy to line their pockets should they choose to do so! In the battle for Angolan diamonds, Leviev managed to end De Beers business in the country.

Today, all legal buying inside Angola goes exclusively through a company called Sodiam, in which Leviev also owns a stake. Then the diamonds are channeled though Ascorp to reach the wider market.

The Ascorp deal effectively cut out all other diamond buyers in Angola. All contracts to market diamonds signed with Endiama, Angola’s previous state-owned diamond company, were declared void.

Leviev’s wealth was built while trading with a business that was a huge pillar of the South African apartheid regime. He then went on to use the proceeds to construct an apartheid reality in the West Bank.


Links:

Boycott Campaign
Business & Human Rights on Angola’s Diamond Mining
Operation Kissonde Angola
Bloody Diamonds: From Angola to Palestine
Jews Against Occupation
Democracy Now Interview with HR activists
Bil’in – a village in Palestine

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