Three More Diamond District Jewelers Busted for Money Laundering

There has been another money laundering bust on 47th Street.

This time, three local businessmen—Ebrahim Raphael, Hamid Delshad of Princess Gold Manufacturers, and Yitzcok Hirschfeld of Intense and Vivid—were arrested for allegedly laundering $1.5 million in drug proceeds.

A federal indictment alleges the trio disguised money earmarked for South American drug lords by falsely claiming the money was for diamonds and jewelry. The alleged co-conspirators were said to have received a “vig”—or fee—for their part in the transactions.

This bust is similar to last year’s “Operation Meltdown,” in which a dozen jewelers were indicted for allegedly agreeing to launder money for an undercover informant. One of the jewelers, Eduard Nektalov, 46, was later murdered. No assailant has been charged in that crime, and news accounts say it may not have been related to the indictment. Nektalov is a third cousin of diamond magnate Lev Leviev, according to the Jewish weekly newspaper Forward.