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Israeli diamond trader banned for 'blood diamond' link

Diamond
Image caption The Kimberley Process certifies that diamonds are "conflict free"

An Israeli diamond trader has been expelled from the Israel Diamond Exchange after he was suspected of smuggling "blood diamonds" into Israel.

David Vardi was arrested in connection with a consignment of $140,000 (£92,000) of Zimbabwean stones, whose exports the Kimberley Process bans.

The Process was set up in 2002 after the diamond trade was accused of fuelling war in Africa.

Its rules, by which 75 countries abide, include certifying a diamond's origins.

Israel is the current chairman of the Kimberley Process.

As well as not being able to trade on the Israeli exchange, Mr Vardi will not be able to deal on any of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB).

"Blood diamonds" are rough diamonds used by rebel groups or their allies to finance wars and conflicts.

The president of the Israeli Diamond Exchange, Avi Paz, who is also the president of the WFDB, told the BBC that Mr Vardi had been a member of the Exchange for more than 20 years and had not denied the accusation.

He said the police were making further inquiries.

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