Italy arrest suspected diamond trafficker with al Qaeda links

Italian police have arrested a man suspected of having links to arms trafficking and Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda network for traveling on a false passport, a police spokesman reportedly said.

Police in acting on a tip, arrested Sanjivan Ruprah, 36, in the northern town of Cremona, outside Milan, on August 2, Reuters reported. He was traveling on a false Belgian passport, the spokesman said.

“Sanjivan Ruprah is an internationally known figure,” he reportedly said. “He is known as an international trafficker of arms and diamonds and has already been arrested in Belgium, from where he was released on bail.”

Kenyan-born Ruprah’s name appears on a list published by the United Nations in 1999 of people banned from international flights because of links to arms and diamond trafficking in Africa.

The Washington Post reported in February that Ruprah had been secretly providing U.S. and European investigators with information about a Russian associate Victor Bout, who was suspected of supplying weapons to al Qaeda.

The Post report appeared about three weeks after Ruprah was arrested in Belgium for what police said was possession of false documents and criminal association.