Senior official in Dubai government: Leviev has no license for opening a store in the Emirates
The Marker: Ha’aretz Daily’s Hebrew-language business magazine (Israel), click here to view
(Translated by Adalah-NY)
May 1, 2008
By Ora Coren and Michal Ramati
The “Gulf News” reported yesterday that the Leviev jewelry chain has no license to open a store in Dubai. Leviev has recently announced his intention to open two stores in Dubai.
“We are aware of the reports but we have not granted a license to a business by the name of ‘Leviev,'” said Ali Ebrahim, deputy manager for foreign affairs in Dubai to the “Gulf News.” In light of the Arab boycott of Israel, Israeli businesses are not allowed in the Gulf Emirates. Ebrahim has told “Gulf News” that measures were taken to make sure that Israelis will not operate in Dubai even through the use of non-Israeli partners.
However, Leviev already owns a store in Dubai through a local partner under the name “Levant.” The store opened on March 18 at the Al Qasr hotel in the Emirate. The two additional stores are expected to be opened with the help of the Moroccan-Palestinian agent who opened the first store, Arif Bin Khadra. When asked if he knows about Leviev’s involvement in construction in the West Bank, he told “Gulf News” that “such questions are not asked in the diamond world.”
Dubai has become a diamond trading center in recent years and opened its doors to Israeli businessmen as well, including Idan Ofer, but tried to keep the contacts relatively secret. However, it seems that Leviev’s public declaration has caused pro-Palestinian and perhaps business competitors to apply pressure which led to the recent statements.
A spokesperson for the Leviev brand in Israel said that Leviev has opened two flagship stores in Dubai a year ago through a local licensed businessman who got a permit for operating the stores: “We regret that commercial interests are constantly making use of political bodies to advance their interests.”