Norwegian Embassy chauffeur, Issa Najam of East Jerusalem, was stopped and arrested while attempting to leave the country, while driving a senior Norwegian diplomat in official diplomatic vehicle.
A chauffeur for Israel’s Norwegian Embassy was arrested last week at the Allenby Crossing to Jordan for allegedly trying to smuggle 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of antiquities out of the country, the Times of Israel reported on Monday, citing a Tax Authority statement.
The driver, named as Issa Najam of East Jerusalem, was stopped at the crossing while in an official diplomatic vehicle and accompanied by a senior Norwegian diplomat, according to the Times of Israel. Customs officials reportedly found ancient coins and figurines hidden in the car’s paneling.
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A Tax Authority spokesperson said that searching diplomatic cars at the crossing is not protocol, but declined to say why the car was searched.
The items found in the car have been given to the Israel Antiquities Authority in order to determine their origin. A spokesperson for the authority reportedly said that the coins were largely from the Hellenistic and Roman eras that were minted by Judean kings and King Herod.
The suspect was released conditionally after posting bail.
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