Lev Leviev: What Doesn’t He Own?

"Lev Leviev is an incredible visionary," Thierry Chaunu, president of Leviev Diamonds, told The Observer. "I mean, he built an empire in 30 years!"

Mr. Chaunu is in New York to tout Mr. Leviev's new retail diamond store opening at 700 Madison Avenue on Oct. 15. The store will cater to the "young hedge fund professional who just got his bonus," according to Mr. Chaunu.

Although he is in town on diamond business, Mr. Chaunu could not speak enough about his boss.

"Mr. Leviev is an extremely focused individual who loves to take risks," Mr. Chaunu explained. "But at the same time he is an extremely devout man. He is a humble man who likes to spend time with his family and friends." Mr. Leviev has nine children.

While Mr. Leviev made his fortune in diamonds, he now has his fingers in a number of different industries. He owns gas stations, swimwear lines, hotels in Israel and television stations in Moscow, according to Mr. Chaunu. He is even the largest owner of 7-Eleven franchises in the United States.

And, of course, Mr. Leviev's Afirca Israel has made some substantial real estate buys in New York in recent months, most notably old The New York Times building at 229 West 43rd Street and the Clock Tower on Madison Avenue.

Although not on the real estate side of Mr. Leviev's ventures, Mr. Chaunu sees the upside of the New York buys.

"As high as the price seems now for The New York Times building, it will be much higher in five years," Mr. Chaunu said.

Very astute, sir.

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