Ehud Arye Laniado, a 65-year-old billionaire diamond dealer has died during penis enlargement surgery at a posh Parisian clinic on the Champs-Elysees in Paris.
According to Le Soir, complications during surgery proved fatal for the Belgian-Israeli dual national and he suffered a heart attack when a substance was injected into his penis.
Laniado’s company Omega Diamonds, which is based in the Belgian city of Antwerp, confirmed he had passed away.
A statement read:
“Farewell to a visionary businessman. It is with great sadness that we confirm that our founder Ehud Arye Laniado has passed away.”
An old friend of Laniado, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “The Argentinian, that is what we used to call him at Omega Diamonds because he looked like a tango dancer.”
The old friend said that Laniado, who was short in stature, was “always focused on his appearance and how others perceived him”.
According to Laniado’s friends, the only time he forgot about his short height was when he asked his accountant to read out his bank statement, something which he did multiple times a day.
Laniado reportedly owned the most expensive penthouse in Monaco worth over £30 million, as well as a house in the plush LA suburb of Bel Air where he loved to drink bottles of Chateau Margaux with models and celebrities.
According to local media, Laniado did not go to university and he started off his career 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, 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 $48.4 million [£36.8 million].
The Belgian-Israeli billionaire, whose exact fortune is not publicly known, got in trouble with the authorities in 2013.
According to local media, Laniado and his business partner Sylvain Goldberg prevented a tax evasion trial by agreeing to payout £137.7 million [€160 million].
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 billion [€4.6 billion] in unpaid taxes as well as a £1.7 billion [€2 billion] fine.
Even though two courts dismissed the Belgian customs office’s claim, an appeals court ordered a new trial with Laniado due to appear in court on 14th March, although his seat in the dock will now be empty.