Zimbabwe authorities have reportedly arrested an Israeli
pilot for allegedly trying to smuggle diamonds worth $2 million out of the country, the Daily Telegraph reported Thursday.
The man was identified as Shmuel Kainan Klein, 55. According to the report, he was detained shortly before boarding a South African Airways flight to Johannesburg.
He was detained when airport security discovered a bag containing more than 1,400 stones, weighing a reported 1.7kg, in his luggage. He was in a pilot's uniform at the time of his arrest, the report said.
Klein denied the allegations and insists that he was "simply passing through the airport" and that he was being framed by someone known to him.
Framed? (Illutration: AFP)
According to the report, he was arrested on March 17 and arraigned before Harare Magistrate's Court on Tuesday. He is accused of unlawful possession of precious stones and immigration offences.
"I was framed and I know who framed me but I can't talk about this now," Klein told the Telegraph. "I was arrested in transit and was only on the ground for 15 minutes.
"I was working for an international company inspecting the crew of the aircraft which took me from Johannesburg to Harare. I have never been to Zimbabwe before."
Details suggest that Klein lives in Johannesburg and Tel Aviv and has worked mostly as a commercial pilot since he left the Israeli Air Force in 1978.
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