A billionaire diamond trader has died after ‘suffering a heart attack’ during a penis enlargement operation in Paris.
Ehud Arye Laniado, 65, was at an unidentified private clinic on the Avenue des Champs-Elysees in the French capital on Saturday when complications during surgery proved fatal.
The experienced diamond expert’s heart attack happened when a substance was injected into his penis, Belgian media reported.
Daily Mail reports:
Mr Laniado’s company Omega Diamonds, which is based in the Belgian city of Antwerp, confirmed his passing.
A statement from the firm said: ‘Farewell to a visionary businessman. It is with great sadness that we confirm that our founder Ehud Arye Laniado has passed away.’
A friend of Mr Laniado’s, who wished to remain anonymous, said he was ‘always focused on his appearance and how others perceived him’.
‘The Argentinian, that is what we used to call him at Omega Diamonds because he looked like a tango dancer.’
According to Mr Laniado’s friends, the only time he forgot about his lack of height was when he asked his accountant to read out his bank statement, something which he did multiple times a day.
Mr Laniado reportedly owned the most expensive penthouse in Monaco worth more than £30million, as well as a house in the plush LA suburb of Bel Air, where he was said to have loved to drink bottles of Chateau Margaux with models and celebrities.
A statement on his website read: ‘It is with great sadness that we confirm the news that our founder, Ehud Arye Laniado passed away on Saturday, March 2, 2019. He was 65 years old.
‘After living an exceptional life Ehud will be brought back home to Israel as his final resting place. He will be dearly missed by us all.’
The diamond expert, who started his career in Africa in his early 20s, appeared not to go to university and first worked as a masseuse at the Hilton hotel in Tel Aviv.
A friend said: ‘In Antwerp, it turned out that he did have some talents. Internationally, he was one of the biggest experts in valuing raw diamonds.’
In 2015, Mr Laniado sold the world’s most expensive diamond called the Blue Moon of Josephine to Hong Kong businessman and convicted felon Joseph Lau Luen Hung for $48.4million (£36.8million).
The Belgian-Israeli billionaire, whose exact fortune is not publicly known, was in trouble with the authorities in 2013 along with his business partner Sylvain Goldberg.
The pair prevented a tax evasion trial by agreeing to payout 160million euros (£137.7million).
However, as the Belgian customs office suspected them of lying or giving incomplete information about some of the diamonds imported from Angola and Congo, they still claimed 4.6billion euros (£4billion) in unpaid taxes as well as a 2billion euros (£1.7billion) fine.
Even though two courts dismissed the Belgian customs office’s claim, an appeals court ordered a new trial with Mr Laniado due to appear in court on March 14.