Antwerp trader duped by buyer claiming to work in Hatton Garden.
British Transport Police (BTP) are appealing for information after an Antwerp diamond dealer was duped out of £32,000 worth of diamonds in a scam that investigators are calling “sophisticated”.
The dealer had travelled from Antwerp to London via the Eurostar on October 28. He had agreed to meet with a man who called himself Michael Levy and claimed to a dealer from London.
The pair were apparently due to visit Levy’s office in Hatton Garden where he claimed to be based but he said that he was too busy to make the trip and asked to deal in the train station.
Levy had asked to purchase two specific diamonds, one of 2.01ct H colour, VVS2 clarity and a second 2.01ct H colour, VS1 clarity stone. Their cut has not been revealed but the near-matching of the stones suggest they may be intended for a pair of diamond studs.
The trader had received a call from his bank the day before to notify him that the agreed sum had been paid into his account. However, when his colleague in Antwerp went to the bank to access the money he was told there had been no payment and the call is since believed to have been part of the scam.
By the time the trader was contacted he had exchanged the diamonds and Levy had left the station.
BTP Detective Constable Eloise Lock said: “This was a sophisticated scam that involved faking a telephone call from a trusted source at the bank.
“By the time the trader realised the phone call had been faked the deal had already been made. An address in Hatton Garden provided by the buyer was then found not to exist."
The BTP are appealing for anyone who may recognise the man who purports to be Michael Levy. He is also said to have mentioned a brother called Samuel Levy.
Traders and jewellers in Hatton Garden and the London environs should be on the lookout for two such stones which may be used for further deals or possibly commissioned into a piece of jewellery.
Anyone with any information about this incident or if you recognise the man in the above CCTV images, you are encouraged to call British Transport Police on 0800 40 50 40 quoting incident number B2/LNA of 17/11/2011.