The titanic fall of Lev Leviev, the Uzbekistan-born Israeli diamond and real estate mogul, gets attention from MarketWatch today. Ranked by Forbes as the world’s 210th richest man just two years ago, Leviev and his diamond mining company, Africa-Israel, are now mired in debt. He was famous for his ego, but it was the economy that felled Leviev, argues writer Amotz Asa-El. A longtime funder of Chabad, Leviev has faced criticism (along with censure) over the years for doing business with Angola, Burma, and apartheid-era South Africa. But that was nothing compared to diving “into the U.S. property market just when the subprime bubble was about to burst” and being heavily invested in Russia “when the war with Georgia chased away foreign investors and depressed local demand.” Leviev’s bad investment luck continues, Asa-El writes: He bought a $70 million spread in the London suburbs, which he’d probably like to unload now, “but for the condition of the British property market.”

How an Israeli King of diamonds overplayed his hand

Diamond Billionaire Takes New York [Forward]