23 Wall Street – China Sonangol – Rearing It’s Not-so-Kosher Head Again…

jsr capital 23 wall
THE REAL DEAL

Jack Terzi’s JTRE sues Chinese firm Sonangol over 23 Wall deal

Jack Terzi’s $140 million deal to buy the former JPMorgan building at 23 Wall Street is in jeopardy because the seller, China Sonangol, allegedly refuses to play ball.

According to a lawsuit Terzi filed against Sonangol in Manhattan Supreme Court that his deal isn’t moving forward because of Sonangol’s refusal to cooperate with the escrow agent. The escrow agent has refused to release the down payment on the purchase, because of concern that controversial Hong Kong tycoon Sam Pa may benefit from the deal, the suit claims.

Pa was the CEO of Sonangol – his current affiliation with the company is unclear – a Singapore-based conglomerate that has been in contract to sell the historic Financial District property to Terzi for over a year.

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Pa was detained by Chinese authorities in 2015 as part of President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign. In 2014, the U.S. alleged that Pa bribed Zimbabwean officials in order to carry out “illicit diamond deals.” He is on the Treasury’s “Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons” list, which prevents Americans from doing business with him.

Terzi, who’s known mostly for buying and leasing up small and mid-sized retail properties, shot into prominence last year when he entered contract to buy the 160,000-square-foot property at 23 Wall at the eye-popping figure of $140 million. But month after month went by, and he never closed, raising speculation that all was not smooth with the deal. According to sources familiar with the property, Terzi has been in talks with Paramount Group to provide financing for the acquisition and redevelopment.

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The former JP Morgan building at 23 Wall has long sat dormant since the bank stopped using the building in the late 2000s. Sonangol bought the property in 2008 for $150 million from a subsidiary of Lev Leviev’s Africa Israel Investments. But attempts to court tenants like Apple and an entertainment venue never came to fruition.

To read the article in its entirety click here.

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Famed J.P. Morgan Building at 23 Wall Street in Play – and Urinating Bosses…

project_rs_23wall

23 Wall Street – Our Theories

We have written on the famed J.P. Morgan piece of property more times than perhaps any other Blog. We have written on the various Jona Rechnitz and Jeremy Reichberg properties/investments/shady dealings. We have written about Chetrit and Bistricer, China Sonangol, Queensway, Angola. The story below from “The Real Deal” almost feels like something we could have written. But, of course, we didn’t.

The new buyer, as you will see below from the article on the bottom of the page, Jack Terzi, lacks certain social graces (or did in 2012). He apparently was an abusive boss who, according to reports in the NY Daily News from 2012, engaged in bizarre behavior. In the interest of full disclosure, his employees at his yogurt shops felt that he was “strictly business” and “humble.” Hard to tell.

We can say this:

It would not surprise us if nestled within the many companies listed on the Africa-Israel website with reference to the Israel Stock Exchange we were to find the new J.P. Morgan buyer’s name, his company or some financial/management synergy with Africa Israel and perhaps concurrently with China Sonangol. It will take a while to find and some might write this one off as a leap. We don’t think so.

It is a Buyer’s market not a Seller’s market in Manhattan right now (if the comment about the losses below by The Real Deal is any indication). China Sonangol/Africa-Israel/Sam Pa/ want out of New York but we doubt they would take a financial loss. We think that it will prove to be anything but a loss.

AFI Group

The company is traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.
For more information, please press on the image below.

Click here for more information

Subsidiaries:

Africa Israel Properties
Click here for more information
Africa Israel Residences
Click here for more information
 Danya Cebus
 Click here for more information
 Africa Israel Industries
 Click here for more information
 Negev Ceramics
 Click here for more information
Dor Alon
Click here for more information
Blue Square
Click here for more information

 

 

Paydirt: The Compass unicorn, a more modest buyer pool, 23 Wall in play … & more

Billionaires hiding? We’ll take the millionaires: Compass’ valuation comes at a time when Manhattan’s high-end residential market is taking body blows. Developers finally seem willing to accept things aren’t where they were in 2014. They’re either offering fat discounts (Extell at One Manhattan Square, World Wide Group and Rose Associates at 252 East 57th Street), pushing sales back (JDS & PMG at 111 West 57th Street) or abandoning ship (Witkoff at Park Lane, Chetrit & Bistricer at the Sony Building).  “The next two years will be the year of the deal,” PMG’s Kevin Maloney told Bloomberg.

Developers who set their sights a little more main street have been faring better: Condos priced between $500,000 and $999,000 have sold five times as fast as their $10 million-and-up counterparts, according to a Miller Samuel analysis of a decade of residential sales.

You don’t know Jack: JTRE’s Jack Terzi is in contract to buy 23 Wall Street, a landmarked property that was once the headquarters of J.P. Morgan & Co. – it was dubbed the “House of Morgan” — but of late has been a pox on Lower Manhattan. The long-vacant building is owned by the shadowy China Sonangol, a joint venture between Sam Pa’s Queensway Group and the nation of Angola — go figure. Sources told the New York Post that Terzi will be buying the property at a discount to the $150 million Sonangol paid for it in 2008. That’s hard to fathom, except for the fact that Pa is under investigation for allegations of financial crimes, according to the FT.

Terzi, who grew up in Gravesend and cut his teeth at Hidrock Realty, has made a number of splashy acquisitions of late, including a number of $20 million-plus buys in Midtown East. But this deal, if he does close on it, elevates him to a different level — giving him control of more than 130,000 square feet in the heart of Lower Manhattan.

 

Sam-Pa-23-Wall-Street (1)

 

THE NEW YORK POST:

http://nypost.com/2016/08/30/long-vacant-wall-street-landmark-sold-to-retail-developer/

 

For a tall tale about how China Sonangol may or may not have come to its original purchase through individuals mixed up in the NYPD scandals, read The Post’s Steve Cuozzo’s story from July 4.

The 160,000 square feet stretches from the landmarked 23 Wall St. where banker Morgan once had his private offices, around the sloped corner to portions of the base floors of 33 Wall and 15 Broad St.

The stone fortress has been touted as a retail play for years, but it’s stood mostly dark — due to absentee ownership and landmark-related restrictions.

Prospective deals to lease it to Brooks Brothers and a multi-media event company fell through but Hermes has been a tenant since 2007.

The upper stories of 15 Broad next door were converted into apartments.

JACK TERZI – NEW YORK DAILY NEWS:

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/ex-worker-suing-real-estate-boss-jack-terzi-5-million-abuse-fines-urinating-article-1.1134148

 

Ex-worker suing real estate boss, Jack Terzi, for $5 million for abuse, fines, and urinating

A foul-mouthed boss from hell unzipped more than his lip in torturing his young assistant.

Brash real estate broker Jack Terzi urinated on the underling’s clothes during a three-year reign of terror in their Manhattan office, according to a astonishing new lawsuit.

The allegedly abusive broker was accused by ex-employee Albert Sultan of abuse that included cutting four-letter insults, sharp flying objects and bizarre fines.

Sultan, hired shortly after Terzi launched his company in 2009, “became emotionally distraught, was humiliated and embarrassed … by the systematic and continuous unlawful harassment,” charged the 15-page suit filed Wednesday.

Court papers contain a cruel recital of Terzi’s perverse management style, including the time he “urinated on a garment” belonging to Sultan as others watched.

Terzi was accused of throwing a shoe and a pair of scissors at his young assistant, hurling insults like “f—— idiot” and “piece of s—“ — and repeatedly “sneezing in (Sultan’s) face in a contemptuous fashion.”

Terzi, in a countersuit, charged Sultan was a conniving backstabber who launched his own business with confidential information stolen from Jack Terzi Real Estate.

Sultan, of Eatontown, N.J., declined further discussion about his ex-boss.

 

 

AG Settlement – Boymelgreen, Leviev… Where’s the Authenticity, Schneiderman?

 In 2014, THE REAL DEAL reported on the investigation which had been launched by AG Eric Schneiderman into the partners’ Boymelgreen and Leviev’s luxury real estate business. Schneiderman’s focus at the time was 20 Pine Street and 15 Broad Street. The Broad Street location is only steps from 23 Wall Street, The JPMorgan building, a location which we view as far more important in the architectural structure that supports if not fosters corruption in New York and elsewhere.

In 2014 Schneiderman sought to enjoin Boymelgreen from doing business in New York until it could be determined whether Boymelgreen’s son, Sam, was acting as a frontman for his father’s business.

Today, it was reported that Boymelgreen will be “banned” from selling condos in New York. The humor in the settlement can be found in son – Sam, mentioned in THE REAL DEAL article in 2014. Is he not still to be a “front” and center concern in the family business?

We don’t hear much about Sam Boymelgreen but we do know that he is not precluded from doing business in New York. Why was he not included in the settlement? Or, did we miss something?

Certainly AG Schneiderman had to have considered in 2016 what was unsettling in 2014, that when father and son are engaged in the same business, a ban is not really a ban it is an invitation to switch heads of state. Or… rather… heads of family businesses.

We have posted the New York Times article regarding the audacious 2-year ban settlement for papa Boymelgreen. Below that, we have posted the article from THE REAL DEAL in 2014.

We repeat and reiterate, little has changed. Except perhaps, that while we have followed the news and learned that one must be wary of Boymelgreen, Leviev and others; Schneiderman has missed the current events page in his syllabus. He seems to think that a 2-year ban has meaning. It does not.

And then there’s the Broad Street/Wall Street, Arcady Gaydamak  Sam Pa, Platinum Partners, Leviev, Panama Papers connections…

 

Shaya-Boymelgreen-copy

FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES:

New York Attorney General Settles Inquiry Into Once-Successful Developer

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The Rialto Building – San Francisco and Robert Rechnitz’s Bomel Co. – 2006

Rialto-Building_San-Francisco-The-Registry-Hines-real-estate

THE CONNECTION BETWEEN AFRICA ISRAEL AND ROBERT RECHNITZ – REAL ESTATE PARTNERS…

Lost Messiah, July 19, 2016

Based upon a tip that Robert Rechnitz was like his son Jona connected to Africa-Israel, and an article that circulated the web by Tikun Olam’s Richard Silverstein, we began searching where he left off, the Friedlander Group. A Robert Rechnitz search of the Friedlander Group site, brings up 37 results, none of which mentions any connection to anything but Agudath Israel and political activism (not to be confused with altruism). But then there’s the real estate…

As you may recall, Jona Rechnitz (of Mile-High Club Fame) worked for Africa Israel USA for several years; and on the coattails of that employment set up JSR Capital, which either acquired or managed companies of or for Africa Israel and/or Lev Leviev.

Africa Israel’s CEO is Lev Leviev a diamond magnate, who is now known in New York circles for his escorted foray through the Lincoln Tunnel, with the assistance of Jeremy Reichberg and his NYPD or NYPAPD connections, is or was an owner of some of New York’s most iconic buildings. 

Africa Israel is connected to Platinum Partners (and Murray Huberfeld) through investments (and diamonds). Africa Israel is connected to 88 Queensway through NY and California properties transferred from Africa Israel to 88 Queensway or Sam Pa.

Lev Leviev is also connected to 88 Queensway and Sam Pa through diamond mines in Africa, most notably Angola. And the wheels go round and round.

Robert Rechnitz has made finding connections to anything but his media consulting firm, the Friedlander Group, the Iron Dome Project, his apparent “philanthropic” donations to Israel (politicians) and political connections very difficult. We highly recommend the Friedlander Group if you want your secrets kept secret as apparently, they have done a brilliant job, almost.

While Robert Rechnitz’s LinkedIn Profile mentions Bomel, a company active in real estate which apparently Robert Rechnitz established in 1978, finding news articles and information on that connection is not obvious. The Bomel Companies website site makes no obvious connection to Robert Rechnitz , nor is there much media available on Rechnitz and Bomel. There is far more information that can be garnered from what is not public than what is. 

The fact that Bomel and Africa Israel are connected took some doing to substantiate. In November of 2006, the San Francisco Business Times reported on the Bomel Group’s acquisition of 116 New Montgomery Street, the Rialto Building in San Francisco. That property was allegedly subsequently sold to Africa-Israel. We had previously written about Africa Israel’s acquisition of that property. In June of 2010, in an obscure article about the relocation of Trulia, the San Francisco Business Times reported on a partnership between Robert Rechnitz’s Bomel and Africa Israel as joint owners of that same property, the Rialto.

The connection was made.

A final note: On the bottom of this article we have listed the 37 search results of the name Robert Rechnitz from the Friedlander Group website. We were intrigued by an article about FBI Special Agent Frankel who spoke at an Agudath Israel Breakfast. We make no implications or assumptions in this notation, only insofar as we think it quite anomalous that an FBI special agent would speak at an Agudath Israel anything. What is more intriguing is perhaps the Agudath connection itself, which also includes the likes of Murray Huberfeld, Mark Nordlicht, the Rechnitz clan, the Bodner clan – a veritable who’s who of extremely wealthy individuals and families who we maintain may have acquired wealth under very unsavory circumstances. Continue reading

Anonymous Letter – 88 Queensway Group and US Real Estate Transactions

Anonymous Letter to Lost Messiah re: 88 Queensway Group, Lev Leviev, Ascorp and Angolan Diamonds

By Lost Messiah, July 18, 2016
We received the following letter, which we believe to be incomplete, but part of a longer letter. We do not know to whom it was written (or cannot independently verify the information we do have) or what questions precipitated the response. What we do know is that the information within this letter has been found on these pages, and where our accounts may have been missing pieces, the below seems to fill in many of the blanks. We have highlighted the most relevant points in red.
For our part, it is not at all clear that Gaydamak does not hold a retained interest in real estate in the US, a possibility further actualized if Marin’s claims of conflicts of interest within the Leviev business structure are correct.
We question whether the intermediary party mentioned here, and in the Marin clams was JSR Capital, which would implicate Jona Rechnitz and would call into question whether there is not far more to his story than accounts shared with the greater public.

THE LETTER:

Following your request for information from Mr. Gaydamak’s lawyer Mr. Barden from “Devonshire” I would like to clarify to you a few aspects of relationships between Mr. Gaydamak and Messrs Leviev, Kopelipa and Sumbula.

Mr. Gaydamak was in 1999 the founder of the structure which later developed diamond trading activitis in Angola and became – for many years – an exclusive exporter of rough diamonds from Angola. The name of the structure is “Ascorp”.

On October 7, 1999 Mr. Gaydamak signed a partnership Agreement for the above diamond activities with Mr. Laniado, Goldberg, a person, who represented Isabelle dos Santos, and Mr. Leviev.

On December 13, 2001, Mr. Gaydamak and Mr. Leviev signed a Trust Agreement between them, by which Mr. Leviev became Mr. Gaydamak’s trustee.

For many years Mr. Leviev refused to implement his obligations of the trustee.

In 2011 Mr. Gaydamak filed a claim in the High Court of London in order to oblige Mr. Leviev to implement his obligations.

Mr. Leviev fraudulently denied the existence of the signed Trust Agreement. Therefore Mr. Gaydamak presented to the Court many facts and evidences that confirmed his rights of the beneficiary.

After Mr. Gaydamak’s submission of his evidences, it became clear to Mr. Leviev that the Court would recognize Mr. Gaydamak’s rights and would oblige Mr. Leviev to provide Mr. Gaydamak with access to all the financial documents dealing with all kinds of financial and business relationships (not only the diamond ones) between the Angolan entities and Mr. Leviev’s structures.

Mr. Leviev since 2000 with Mr. Gaydamak’s assistance, developed very close business partnership relationships with Mr. Kopelipa and Mr. Sumbula.

Therefore, in order to protect their own business interests, and to avoid the implementation of obligations toward Gaydamak, Mr. Kopelipa – during Gaydamak’s stay in Angola in August 2011 – induced Gaydamak by ruse and intimidation – to sign a Settlement Agreement with Leviev.

On June 29, 2012, Judge Vos issued his Judgment, in which he recognized the existence of the Trust Agreement, but he also recognized the validity of the Settlement Agreement.

This surprising decision regarding the validity of the Settlement Agreement, where Gaydamak dropped all of his rights with no compensation, and the Judgment (See Paragraph 222 of the Judgment) clearly stating that the Settlement Agreement was signed under the duress conditions, is now being contested by the new Gaydamak’s Claim of September 2, 2013.

Below I provide a few examples of financial and business transactions between the structures, owned by Leviev, Kopelipa and Sumbula, that the access to the information is not in the interests of Kopelipa and Sumbula, and this is the reason why they interfered in favor of Leviev in order to induce Gaydamak to sign the Settlement Agreement.

There are complex interconnections between different companies where directly or indirectly Leviev partially is the Ultimate Beneficial Owner.

*New Bright International Development LTD;

*Ascent Goal Investment LTD;

*Artfield Group LTD;

*China Sonangol Resources Enterprises LTD;

*Nan Nan Resources;

*China Endiama;

Some of the shareholders of Nan Nan:

* Africa Israel Financial Assets and Strategies (5,88%)

* Africa Israel Investment LTD (5,88%)

* Lev Leviev (0,13%)

* Memorand 1998 – private company owned by Leviev (5%)

I will call all this Group of Companies the “88 Queensway Group” (See information on the Internet).

The “88 Queensway Group” is related to Angolan entities; and in accordance with oral, “de facto” and written Agreements with Leviev who is partially the Ultimate Beneficial Owner of 88 Queensway Group– Leviev keeps Gaydamak’s part “in trust”.

Leviev directly and indirectly owns at least 15% and perhaps more of China Sonangol.

In 2006-2007 the “88 Queensway Group”provided loans of around US$ 1 billion to Africa Israel USA.

All the conditions and aspects of regularity of these loans provided by companies related to Leviev to the public Company Africa Israel where Leviev is the major shareholder and Director should be examined.

With the above mentioned loans Africa Israel USA bought real-estate properties in NY in highly dubious conditions.

For example, the NY Times Building was bought in 2004 for US$ 170 millions by the previous owner, and then strangely, bought by Africa Israel USA only 3 years later in 2007 for US$ 525 millions. I should examine all conditions and aspects of regularity for this transaction.

In 2008-2009, only 2 years later, the same building was strangely sold by Africa Israel USA for only US$160 millions to the company of “88 Queensway Group” where Leviev directly and indirectly is the Ultimate Beneficial Owner.

Also, Leviev, in dubious conditions has transferred the management of the buildings that were sold by Africa Israel USAto “88 Queensway Group” to a private Company where Leviev is the owner.

Leviev, through his private company “Memornd 1998,” owns 18% stake in the Angolan Catoca Mining Company. Half of that stake is kept “in trust” by Leviev for Gaydamak, in accordance with oral and written Agreements.

At the beginning of 2011, it was announced that Leviev sold the above mentioned 18% stake to the “88 Queensway Group” (China Sonagol) for US$ 400 millions.

China Endiama, part of the “88 Queensway Group” for the last 5 years has bought diamonds approximately for US$ 1 billion value in Angola. Then, all those diamonds were transferred to Leviev.

Did Marin Know Something in 2011?

 

Africa Israel USA, 23 Wall Street, China Sonangol – What Richard Marin Had to Say in 2011…

There have been and continue to be conflicting reports regarding Africa-Israel’s involvement with 23 Wall Street, the Clock Tower Building and the New York Times building, amongst many.

Richard Marin, once CEO of Africa-Israel said that he uncovered “serious instances of self-dealing and conflict of interest” which is why he was ousted. Perhaps there were no conflicts because there was a shared ownership interest so the money was just changing from the right hand to the left.

The question remains: Who owns some of New York’s most iconic buildings and secondarily, who profited. We JSR capital, owned by former employee Jona Rechnitz one of the “competing interests”?

See following related articles:

Arcady Gaydamak 

23 Wall Street

Sam Pa

Africa-Israel

JSR Capital

 

Ousted Africa Israel Chief Marin Alleges He Uncovered ‘Abuses’

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2011-05-06/ousted-africa-israel-chief-marin-alleges-he-uncovered-abuses-

Richard Marin, former chief executive officer of Africa Israel USA, sued the company and its Israel-based parent, saying he was fired after uncovering “serious instances of self-dealing and conflict of interest.”

Marin, who became CEO in February 2009, is seeking to recover a $1.25 million bonus he said he was promised for last year, plus management incentive fees and damages for his termination in December.

“This is a case of a company firing an executive in order to cover up wrongdoing that the executive discovered and reported,” Marin said in the complaint, filed yesterday in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan. A lawyer for the company said today that Marin was fired after disagreements with management in Israel about strategy, and that he delayed repayment of a loan against the bonus.

Africa Israel USA, a unit of Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev’s Africa Israel Investments Ltd., made its highest-profile acquisitions just before the onset of the credit crunch in 2007. A series of acquisitions that included the $525 million purchase of the former New York Times building and Manhattan’s Clock Tower building for $200 million saddled the firm with $2 billion of debt.

Marin was hired to help the company “stop the bleeding” from its “badly timed investment binge,” according to his suit.

‘Willful Diversion’

Marin alleges that the company, struggling to restructure its debt, diverted a valuable client to a competing firm founded by a former employee. That client, China Sonangol International Ltd., which owns an office building at 23 Wall Street, brought more than $200,000 of fees to Africa Israel, which was managing the property, Marin’s suit said. China Sonangol also owed Africa Israel $700,000 and Marin said that senior management in Israel prohibited him from suing to recover those funds because the Hong Kong firm has ties to Leviev’s non-real estate ventures.

“Willful diversion of the opportunity deprived shareholders of Africa-Israel of hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue,” Marin alleged in the suit.

Y. David Scharf, a lawyer for Africa Israel, said Marin was terminated because of a series of disagreements with management in Israel, including disputes over the strategic direction of the company and “outwardly hostile” remarks to Leviev in front of senior management. Marin also borrowed $500,000 against his bonus, according to Scharf and Marin’s lawsuit. The amount should have been paid back in 2010, Scharf said; instead Marin created a promissory note with a date in 2011, against the bonus he expected to receive for 2010.

Bonus Advance

“He basically took the company’s money and gave himself an advance against the 2010 bonus, which wasn’t guaranteed. It was completely discretionary,” Scharf said.

Marin described the bonus advance in his suit, saying he and management agreed the loan would be due in June 2011, and be repaid from his expected 2010 bonus. Africa Israel recorded the loan and its payment date in corporate filings in June and September 2010, according to the lawsuit.

Scharf also said that China Sonangol was unhappy with Africa Israel’s performance in leasing the vacant space at 23 Wall Street, so Africa Israel referred it to another firm.

“It wasn’t like Africa Israel diverted business to a competitor; they actually saved a working relationship,” Scharf said. “Africa Israel was not generating revenue, not leasing the property.”

The case is Richard A. Marin v. AI Holdings (USA) Corp., 651224/2011, New York state Supreme Court (Manhattan).

See original article, here.

 

 

More Arrests and Indictments – Our Diamond Theory…

 

ALL ROADS LEAD BACK TO DIAMONDS…

Lost Messiah, July 8, 2016

Our theory regarding the connections by and among the following people: Jona Rechnitz, Jeremy Reichberg, Africa-Israel, Norman Seabrook, Hamlet Peralta, Lev Leviev, Sam Pa, the Queensway Group, Platinum Partners, Mark Nordlicht, Murray Huberfeld and others has always been founded on the links that all of these people have to diamonds, diamond mining, diamond production, diamond investing and more diamonds.

389763bc-6455-4389-a590-fc714c20d1b2The ownership and providence of 23 Wall Street, the Antwerp Building, the Madison Avenue Clock Tower and their connections to both Africa-Israel and Jona Rechnitz and by default to Lev Leviev and Sam Pa has again led us to the underlying theme of Lev Leviev’s major business interests, diamonds.

Sam Pa and China Sonangol are also known for mining, diamonds.

sam-paIn fact, Sam Pa and China Sonangol have been accused of human rights abuses related to diamond mining. The fact that Rechnitz tells some outrageous fantasy story about duping Sam Pa into purchasing 23 Wall Street instead of the Madison Avenue Clock Tower building is all smoke and mirrors. Rechnitz’s indictment that Sam Pa purchased that building from Africa-Israel as a favor to Lev Leviev, who was apparently cash poor at the time,  is an incriminating evocation that the two men knew each other. That sort of favor, if true, would indicate more than simple cursory introductions. Rechnitz’s statement is a dead-giveaway in our opinion regardless of truth or accuracy of the statements, that Lev Leviev and Sam Par are business associates of sorts. We are guessing…. diamonds or diamond mining.  

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