Russian media reported that customs officers at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport arrested on Thursday an Israeli woman on suspicion of smuggling diamonds worth half a million dollars.
The 66-year-old woman had arrived in Moscow from Tel Aviv, bringing her diamond earrings with her to wear at an event.
According to the report, the woman passed through customs without declaring anything, but was stopped by an officer asking if she had anything to declare.
When she answered in the negative, the customs officers checked her clothes.
They found a pair of 9.47-carat diamond earrings – worth half a million dollars – in the pocket of her jacket, which was laid across her cart.
The woman should have declared her earrings and paid 8 million rubles ($110,000) to bring them in, the Customs Authority said.
Justifying herself, the woman said the earrings were her personal belongings and that she was planning to wear them at an upcoming formal event.
For this reason, she said, it did not even occur to her that she would need to declare them.
Russian customs officials did not accept her explanation, however, and said she was in violation of Russian law. According to Russian media, the earrings were then confiscated by the customs officials.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry denied any knowledge of the incident.