An Israeli-Belgian billionaire diamond trader died at the age of 65, while going through a penis enlargement surgery in Paris, Saturday.
Ehud Arye Laniado, whose exact net worth was unknown, suffered a heart attack when a substance was injected into his penis during the procedure, carried out an unidentified posh Parisian clinic. The complication proved fatal for the businessman.
Laniado owned the company Omega Diamonds, located in the Belgian city of Antwerp, which is the operational hub for most of the world’s top diamond traders. “Farewell to a visionary businessman. It is with great sadness that we confirm that our founder Ehud Arye Laniado has passed away,” the company said in an issued statement. “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.”
Here are a few facts about Laniado:
1. Laniado started his career as a masseur at the Hilton hotel in Tel Aviv, Israel.
2. His website boasted: “Over a period of 40 years, Laniado meticulously documented and analyzed his findings on the prices of rough and polished diamonds. His expertise in accurately predicting the likely polished value of a rough stone – one of the most demanding and complex skills in the diamond industry – became increasingly sought-after and led to greater pricing transparency for both diamond buyers and sellers. The sophisticated data he developed led him to create two proprietary computerized diamond valuation systems for rough and polished diamonds to comprehensively classify diamond prices. In 2014, both systems were independently reviewed and deemed fit for purpose.”
3. He became famous after he sold the world’s most expensive diamond – the Blue Moon of Josephine – to Hong Kong businessman Joseph Lau Luen Hung, who was also a convicted felon, for 36.8 million pounds ($48.44 million).
4. According to local media reports, he suffered from a condition called the Napoleon complex, which made him insecure about his short stature. He was called “The Argentinian” by his staff “because he looked like a tango dancer,” A friend of Laniado who wished to remain anonymous told The Sun.
5. Money was the only thing that made Laniado forget about his shortcoming. He reportedly told his accountant to read out his bank statement multiple times a day. Some of his luxurious assets included an expensive penthouse in Monaco worth over 30 million pounds ($39 million) and a house in Bel Air, Los Angeles. He used to prefer sipping on Chateau Margaux wine when he hosted house parties, attended by models.
6. Laniado got into trouble with the Belgian authorities in 2013 for tax evasion on diamonds, which they claimed were illegally imported from Congo and Angola. He reportedly tried to evade a tax evasion trial by paying 137.7 million pounds ($181.24 million) but was sued by the country’s government for 4 billion pounds ($5.27 billion) as well as a 1.7 million pounds ($2.24 million) fine.