According to a statement released by the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC), the Correctional Court in Antwerp has sentenced five people, including four diamond traders, to mandatory prisons sentences and imposed "significant" fines for certificate fraud. The fraud involved bribing an employee of the HRD Antwerp diamond lab in order to obtain certificates for their diamonds stating a higher color grade, thus artificially increasing the value of the diamonds. The public prosecutor is also submitting an appeal to enable another firm involved to receive even heavier sentences, an appeal that HRD Antwerp and AWDC say they support.
“We are pleased that the court hands down very harsh penalties on these types of crimes,” said AWDC CEO Ari Epstein. “These judgments deliver an unmistakable message: those who break the rules will be punished severely. In our industry, everything depends on trust – when you give your word, you keep it. Those that violate that principle damage the reputation of the entire industry, and that is simply unacceptable.”