‘Everybody Loves Diamonds’ Ending Explained: Is It Based On A True Story? Who Is Leonardo Notarbartolo?


Based on the true story of the biggest diamond heist in history, Everybody Loves Diamonds begins with what happened after the Antwerp World Diamond Centre was looted. The sharp-witted Italian jeweler, Leonardo Notarbartolo, was the mastermind, and supporting him was his expert crew. We are told that his gang managed to breach the security, but the question was: how? Well, through its eight episodes, we figure out the hows, the whys, and also what ultimately happened to the loot. The dream team consisted of Sandra, an expert lockpicker, the genius hacker Alberto, the alarm specialist Ghigo, and, of course, Notarbartolo himself. Sandra was introduced to the business by her father, who was serving a prison sentence. Ghigo and Leo were best of friends, and they shared a passion for robbery. It was only Alberto, Leo’s brother, who was committing a crime of this scale for the first time. The heist was planned out for months, and each possible threat was taken into account. The team knew they would have only one attempt, and they had to make it count.

Spoiler Alert

Who had betrayed Leonardo?

Leonardo was introduced to the world of diamonds by a Jewish diamond merchant, Levi. From the moment he entered the vault of the World Diamond Center, he decided to loot it. There were ten layers of security, yet Leo believed it was not impenetrable. To be able to conduct thorough research, Leo decided to start his own diamond business. He convinced his wife, Anna, and his father-in-law to invest in the business, and they set up a shop in Turin as a front. With a forged bank statement, Leo managed to get an office in the Antwerp World Diamond Centre. Using a micro-camera, Leo took pictures of the Diamond Center, particularly of the vault and the security system. He brought back all the information he collected, and it impressed his team. Leo’s determination was the reason why they started to trust him, and they agreed to join him in Antwerp, Belgium. Meanwhile, Levi figured out what Leo was up to, and he demanded a 10 percent share of the loot if they managed to pull the heist. Leo could not risk spoiling his relationship with Levi; after all, the man had taught him everything that he knew about diamonds, and he agreed to the deal.

From the very beginning of Everybody Loves Diamonds, we know that the heist was a success, but what led to Leonardo Notarbartolo’s arrest? Everything went according to Leo’s plan, yet it was a piece of paper from the trash that got him in trouble. He had no other option but to doubt his teammates, and he believed Ghigo and Sandra conspired against him. Inspector Mertens of the Diamond police showed Leo the reason behind his arrest—it was the receipt of all the items he purchased to break into the safe, and they also had security footage that confirmed that it was Leo who bought the items. Leo managed to find a way to contact his brother, Alberto, from prison and tasked him with finding out who acted behind his back. After going through the surveillance footage of their den, it became obvious that both Ghigo and Sandra plotted against Leo and intentionally dumped the receipt for the police to find. When Sandra learned that it was Leo’s half-baked plan that landed her father in prison, she thought it was only fair to teach him a lesson. She believed that they deserved the entire cut because they were the ones risking their lives and working hard to pull off the heist.

Where were the stolen diamonds stored?

John Lovegrove, an international advocate, offered to help Leo figure out a way to get out of prison, but in exchange, he demanded to know the location of the stolen diamonds. Lovegrove claimed to be working for the mafia who lost their wealth and desperately wanted to locate the diamonds. Leo realized that he could use the situation to his advantage, but for that, he had to confess that he was responsible for the heist. He refused to say a word more and agreed to only disclose the entire truth once he was released. By fooling the Diamond Police, Lovegrove and his client managed to create public outrage, which resulted in the release of Leo. Apart from the receipt, Inspector Mertens did not find any other clue. He tried to wage a war between the wife (Anna) and the girlfriend (Judith DeWitt), but even that did not lead to any fruitful results. Once Leo was released, he found out that Lovegrove was hired by another robber, who had previously attempted to rob the Antwerp World Diamond Centre but got caught, Simon Van De Velde. He believed that since he was the one who originally came up with the plan, he deserved to be the one to claim the diamonds. Since it was not possible to file a copyright case for a robbery, the only option was to get to Leo and find out where the loot was. Leo refused to give the details once he was out of prison, but when Lovegrove informed him how his entire confession was recorded, Leo decided to admit the truth.

Since most thieves get caught once they start spending the heist money, Leo believed it was in their best interest to freeze the loot for a year and then divide it among themselves. His genius plan was to store the diamonds in the Antwerp Diamond Center in a safe that only Sandra could open. All the diamonds were locked into the safety box of a man named Ezra Cohen. Such a man did not exist and was created by hacking into Antwerp’s civil registry. The plan was perfect, but Leo admitted that he made the mistake of trusting the wrong people. While Lovegrove and Van De Velde assumed that they were a step closer to getting the diamonds, a mafia gang got hold of them and took Leo along with them. The mafia boss tortured Leo to find out the truth because the diamond robbery had impacted his business. He promised to not harm Anna if Leo confessed the truth, and Leo ultimately agreed to the deal.

What was Anna’s plan?

Leo was mostly absent, and Anna figured she could only find answers in Antwerp. When she went to Antwerp, she was shocked to find Leo and his team in his apartment. Leo confessed that he had always been a thief and that he was planning on robbing the World Diamond Center. Anna was devastated upon finding the truth, but after thinking it through, she decided to become a part of the gang. She, too, wanted a cut, even though the rest of the gang was not happy about it. After Leo’s arrest, Anna figured out that Leo had a physical relationship with Judith DeWitt, and she decided she had had enough. Anna connected with Sandra and Gigho to get her share before Leo was released from prison. Gigho, dressed as Orthodox Jew Ezra Cohen, entered the World Diamond Centre. Gigho had a hunch that things would not go according to plan, but he successfully managed to get the safe box from the vault. Just when Sandra, Gigho, and Anna had the box in hand, the mafia boss kidnapped them. At the end of Everybody Loves Diamonds, Sandra opened the safe box, but surprisingly, there was not a single diamond in it. Leo could not believe his eyes. He explained that only Sandra and Gigho could have taken the diamonds since they were the ones required to get access to the box. Leo, Anna, and Alberto were allowed to leave, and the mafia boss continued to torture Sandra and Gigho for an answer. They swore that they did not remove the diamonds, but nobody believed them.

Who ultimately came to possess the diamonds?

Leo reconciled with Anna after the entire Mafia boss episode. Anna was not ready to forgive Leo after he humiliated her publicly and betrayed her trust. And it was only after Leo mentioned the diamonds that she had a change of heart. She believed that the humiliation and lies would have been worth something if they had the diamonds, and that was when Leo revealed that he knew where the loot was. At the end of Everybody Loves Diamonds, we find out that Leo was the one who had removed the diamonds from the safe. Leo started to doubt Sandra and Gigho when he watched them talk in secret. Leo pretended to keep the diamonds in the box, but after he sent Gigho to get the synthetic diamonds, he removed the bags and stored the loot in Levi’s box. Leo was right to suspect, and as it turned out, he made the correct decision by storing the loot in a different box.

During Everybody Loves Diamonds‘ ending, Leo, Anna, Alberto, and Levi arrive at the World Diamond Centre. Anna and Levi entered the establishment, and they finally got their hands on the loot. Levi took his share, and Leo waited for Anna to bring back the rest of the diamonds. But Anna was nowhere to be found, and within a few minutes, Leo watched Anna leave in a car.

Leo had never expected Anna to deceive him, but after living with her lying, thieving husband, Anna, too, learned how to deal with him. She was not ready to be disrespected anymore, and she did not wish to live in Leo’s shadow. The entire loot belonged to Anna, but it seems the mafia boss had already figured it out. The ending also suggests a criminal organization was backing Anna, considering that the driver knew her entire plan. Maybe she offered a percentage in exchange for security? What we know for sure is that Anna will probably continue living her life as a thief. While Anna managed to fool Leo, will she be able to pull off another heist, and more importantly, how will she deal with the mafia boss? Well, since everybody loves diamonds, the loot will continue to attract many more takers.

What Is The True Story Behind The Heist?

Everybody Loves Diamonds is based on a real event that took place in February 2003. It revolves around the biggest diamond robbery in the history of heists, carried out by the criminal mastermind, Leonardo Notarbartolo. The loot was estimated to be over a hundred million dollars worth, but strangely enough, it was never recovered. The sentencing of Notarbartolo was carried out based on circumstantial evidence. He was released on parole after four years of his ten-year sentence, but because he did not meet the conditions of the parole, he was again arrested in 2011 and released in 2017. Leonardo, now in his 70s, lives in Turin, Italy.

In an interview, he admitted that from childhood, he enjoyed stealing, and at a young age, he realized he was good at being a thief. But it seems he has retired from his life of crime after all. The Diamond Police had a tough time figuring out how Leonardo and his gang managed to pull off the heist since the World Diamond Center is protected by ten layers of security. Notarbartolo’s team consisted of The Genius (an expert in alarm systems), Monster (pretty much a Jack of all trades), King of Keys (a lock specialist), and Speedy (his friend). Leonardo was a tenant at the World Diamond Center, and he used a microcamera to take pictures of the establishment from within. While many assumed that the Sicilian mafia was involved in the heist since his cousin was said to be the next leader of the crime syndicate, Leonardo never admitted it. He instead tried to establish that a Jewish diamond dealer commissioned the heist and that it was an elaborate insurance scam. The truth did not surface, and the loot continues to be lost, at least in the eyes of the law. Maybe the diamonds traveled safely to Italy, and perhaps that is the reason why the mastermind can live a life of peace. This is one of those cases where everything is a possibility.

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Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni has worked as a film researcher on a government-sponsored project and is currently employed as a film studies teacher at a private institute. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies. Film History and feminist reading of cinema are her areas of interest.

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