Imports of rough diamonds from the Marange Diamond Fields in Zimbabwe and gold mined in artisanal small mines (ASM) in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have been blocked by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) on the suspicion of forced labor. The two items were on a list of five products from five different countries singled out for 'Withhold Release Orders' (WRO) which were issued "based on information obtained and reviewed by CBP that indicates that the products are produced, in whole or in part, using forced labor", the agency writes.
Russian diamond miner Alrosa believes that the former and current management of Angolan diamond mine Catoca - in which Alrosa holds a 41% stake - is responsible for secreting away nearly $10 million, and will call upon a U.S. court to obtain discovery of evidence.
Fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi was denied bail for the third time by a UK court in his extradition case to India to face charges in the $2 billion Punjab National Bank fraud & money laundering case. He will continue to be lodged in a Wandsworth prison in south-west London, which his lawyers described as "unliveable". His bail had already been rejected twice before by Westminster Magistrates' Court in London, at least in part because of Modi's "lack of community ties" in the UK, having been based in London for only a "short period of time" since 2017.
Several media reports from Israel indicate that Israeli law enforcement officials say they want to question Lev Leviev, the business baron whose companies allegedly are at the center of a vast diamond-smuggling ring that has operated for years, according to Israeli daily Haaretz. Six suspects were arrested Monday as part of a probe into suspected diamod smuggling by Israeli tycoon Lev Leviev.
An interim order regarding the liquidations sales of 142 stores that Sears plans to close as part of its bankruptcy reorganization recognizes the ownership rights of vendors that have supplied merchandise to the retailer on memo. Those vendors, which include diamond manufacturer Rosy Blue and jewelry supplier Vijay Gold Designs, objected to Sears' plans to close the stores because the stores held goods supplied by the vendors on consignment and believed Sears would to sell their merchandise “whether they own it or not.”
The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) last week published an article on a most curious discovery: "One Natural Melee Diamond Found in Large Batch of HPHT Synthetic Melee".
India has been informed by the UK's Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) that it can initiate extradition proceedings against Indian diamantaire Nirav Modi even though his exact whereabouts remain uncertain, a senior Indian official said today. According to Indian daily The Times of India, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has begun the process of filing an extradition request for Modi, which will then have to be approved by the UK Home Office following which an extradition warrant can be issued.
The Zimbabwean government has yielded to Chinese pressure and will restore Anjin Investment’s operating licence after finalisation of the new diamond policy, nearly three years after the entity was stopped from mining in Chiadzwa, writes the Zimbabwe Independent.
A US court last Thursday passed an interim order that prevents creditors from collecting debt from Nirav Modi-owned Firestar Diamond Inc (FDI) and its affiliates after it filed for bankruptcy. Modi, who is being investigated for illegal transfer of nearly $2 billion from Punjab National Bank, has a majority stake in Firestar Diamond and its other sister companies through his other companies. FDI filed the Chapter 11 voluntary petition in the New York Southern Bankruptcy Court last week, and the bankruptcy court said that the filing of case imposed an automatic stay against most collection a
On Saturday, February 17, 2018, India's Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) released a statement on the incidents that have recently come to light with regards to the alleged fraud committed by two members of the Council. They state: "The Nirav Modi/Gitanjali Gems incident is of concern to the entire Gems & Jewellery industry. The Industry strongly condemns any sort of unlawful & illegal actions by any individual, trade or otherwise.
According to The National Jeweler, a Delaware judge this week has dismissed the Chapter 11 cases Exelco NV and its subsidiaries filed in the Delaware (US) Bankruptcy Court, ruling that the cases should be heard in Belgium. U.S.
The government of Zimbabwe has removed the local ownership requirement for foreign investment into the country - laid down in the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act - with the exception of the diamond and platinum sectors, Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa announced in a major policy change by the new administration. President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who has made job creation one of his priorities, had telegraphed his radical policy shift by dropping the indigenisation portfolio when he named his cabinet last week.
Leading diamond industry organizations The World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB), The World Jewellery Confederation (CIBJO) and the International Diamond Manufacturers Association (IDMA) have fulfilled the final stage of an agreement, by which the nomenclature used by the International Diamond Council (IDC) will now be harmonised with that of CIBJO’s Diamond Blue Book, creating a single standard for diamond and jewelry nomenclature.
Brilliant Earth, the online diamond jewelry company whose USP is socially and environmentally responsible sourcing and complete chain of custody transparency, has resolved its defamation suit against Jacob Avital, reports JCK's Rob Bates. The videos have been removed from YouTube. Last summer, Avital published two widely-viewed videos on YouTube of his hidden-camera 'exposure' of Brilliant Earth as a scam, whose practices do not match its claims to transparency of origin for their diamond supply chain.
According to a Delaware bankruptcy judge, the Exelco - KBC case is "a mess", and he encouraged the diamond wholesaler and the bank to try to disentangle their disputes before proceeding any futher. U.S.
Costco owes Tiffany & Co. more than $19 million for selling 2,500 generic diamond rings falsely identified as "Tiffany" rings, a federal judge ruled Monday. Judge Swan ruled in favor of Tiffany, saying the brand was entitled to $11.1 million as profits for trademark infringement, plus interest, as well as an additional $8.25 million in punitive damages, which had been awarded by a jury in October. Costco was also permanently prohibited from using “Tiffany” as a stand-alone term when selling its products.
The Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Mining Company (ZCDC) has suffered a major blow after the High Court ordered it to immediately shut down its mining operations amid reports its activities do not meet Environmental Management Authority (EMA) regulations, writes The Zimbabwe News Live. This decision comes as part of an ongoing investigation in to the Marange alluvial diamonds operations, with the Court ordering the state-owned company to stop diamond mining in Chiadzwa with immediate effect until it has been granted an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) certificate.
Brazilian engineering company Odebrecht SA, a conglomerate selling off assets in the wake of a corruption scandal - allegedly paying hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes in association with infrastructure projects in 12 countries, including Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Venezuela and Panama between 2002 and 2016 - has agreed to sell a 16.4 percent stake in the Catoca mine in Angola.
Thursday June 8, the US House of Representatives approved legislation to erase a number of core financial regulations put in place by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, as Republicans moved a step closer to delivering on their promises to eliminate rules that they claim have strangled small businesses and stagnated the economy, writes the New York Times.
Signet Jewelers Limited has announced that it had reached an agreement with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to resolve all claims related to the pay and promotion of female retail sales employees at the company in EEOC v. Sterling Jewelers Inc. The Consent Decree states there were “no findings of liability or
The U.S. Department of Justice, through its District of Minnesota U.S. Attorney's Office, has announced a federal indictment charging former Scio Diamond Technology Corporation (Scio Diamond) Board of Directors Chairman, Edward S. Adams, with "orchestrating an elaborate fraud scheme to embezzle millions of dollars of investors' funds." The indictment alleges the activity happened between 2006 and 2013. Adams was indicted Wednesday in U.S.
The European Parliament last week approved a draft regulation intended to prevent the minerals trade from funding conflict and human rights violations in Africa. If adopted, this “conflict minerals” law will oblige all but the smallest EU importers of tin, tungsten, tantalum, gold and their ores from conflict and high-risk areas to do "due diligence" checks on their suppliers, and big manufacturers will also have to disclose how they plan to monitor their sources to comply with the rules. Authorities in EU member states will be responsible for ensuring compliance by companies.
Hundreds of former employees of Sterling Jewelers, the multibillion-dollar conglomerate owned by Signet - the largest specialty jewelry retailer in the US, UK and Canada, with about 3,600 stores under brand names such as Kay Jewelers and Jared The Galleria of Jewelry - claim that its chief executive and other company leaders presided over a corporate culture that fostered rampant sexual harassment and discrimination, according to arbitration documents obtained by
The Jewelers Vigilance Committee (JVC), a committee dedicated to educating and regulating the ethics and integrity of the jewelry industry, has appointed Tiffany Stevens as its new president and CEO, reports JCK. She succeeds Cecilia Gardner, who held this post for 18 years, was general counsel of the World Diamond Council for 15 years and was involved in the Kimberley Process from the time of its inception in 2000.
Namibia's Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has dropped an investigation into whether a new government independent sales company called Namib Desert Diamonds (Namdia) deliberately sold Namibian diamonds cheaply to Dubai-based firms, writes The Namibian, which first broke the story back in November 2016. The Namibian previously raised concerns that Namdia, tasked to sell stones worth over US$150 million (N$2.1 billion) per year as stipulated by a
"No, this is not a joke - I wish it were." So begins Chaim Even-Zohar's latest Diamond Intelligence Briefing, which uncovers a bizarre oversight involving the U.S. Kimberley Process Authority (USKPA): it does not officially exist at all. Rather, USKPA's Director and General Counsel Cecelia Gardner told Zohar the organization has been operating under a DBA ("doing business as") name, while the full name is "U.S. Kimberley Process Authority Institute" (USKPAI) ... but this as well has ceased to exist.
Rockwell Diamonds may have set an all-time record for the length of a press release title - "Rockwell’s third quarter results impacted by malicious litigation, however the strategic repositioning programme makes progress as new leadership is appointed and non-core assets along with related liabilities rationalized" - but this might be an intentional ploy to discourage readers from reading any further.
Israeli billionaire businessman Beny Steinmetz was released from house arrest Wednesday after he was detained last month on suspicion of money laundering and bribing public officials in Africa, writes The Times of Israel. The diamond and mining magnate was arrested on December 19 and accused of paying millions of dollars in bribes in the Republic of Guinea in exchange for advancing his business interests in the country, according to the Israel Police.
Israeli authorities have placed Israeli diamond and mining mogul Beny Steinmetz under house arrest over allegations of bribery and corruption in Guinea linked to his BSG Resources (BGSR) mining company. One of Israel’s wealthiest men, Steinmetz has been arrested in Israel over claims that he paid millions of dollars in bribes to secure mineral assets in one of the world’s poorest nations.
Diversified mining giant Rio Tinto will “robustly” defend itself against any legal action by BSG Resources (BSGR) - owned by the notorious Israeli mining figure Beny Steinmetz - which is reportedly planning to sue the company over its alleged contribution to the loss of BSG’s mining rights for the Simandou iron-ore project in Guinea, writes Mining Weekly. BSG is reportedly seeking billions of dollars in damages.
A Canadian environmental group is taking diamond giant De Beers to court over their alleged failure to provide a full report on the mercury levels at their Victor diamond mine in Northern Ontario. Since mining could trigger mercury pollution, Ontario’s government requires De Beers to self-monitor and report on the mercury levels found in creeks near the mine.
Zimbabwe has produced only 924,000 carats of diamonds this year from its Marange fields, or just a third of the 3.2 million carats produced over the same period last year, as court cases filed by miners against a government decision to expropriate their claims drag on.
Lucara Diamond has issued a press release announcing that it has indeed terminated its contract with Eqstra Botswana to provide mining related services at its Karowe Mine. However, "Contrary to recent media reports in Botswana, the Company is unaware of any fraud or illegal activities, of its current or former employees, in relation to the mining contract. While the performance of Eqstra under the contract remains a subject of discussion between the parties, an orderly transition to a new mining contractor is underway.
In response to Walmart selling their $18,000 Diamond Watch on walmart.com, Cartier issued a statement clarifying that Walmart is not authorized to sell its products. Walmart has more than tripled its online offering of products over the past year, and made headlines last week when the Wall Street Journal reported that a third-party vendor, New York-based Jewelry Unlimited, was selling a $18,000 diamond watch by Cartier on walmart.com on Black Friday. Cartier took aim at Walmart on Monday, saying it could not vouch for the authenticity of the watches sold via walmart.com.
According to a report on the Israeli news site Hamodia, the country's tax authorities, following Israels commitments to the US and international organizations to apply a more stringent anti-money laundering policy, are targeting the Israeli diamond industry, generally considered the biggest offenders in this domain. Officials said that as of January 1st, the administration will go after tax fraud more agressively, implementing extended powers of investigation and enforcement.
The United States Supreme Court became the seventh separate court to agree with PJSC LUKOIL (Grib Diamonds is a 100% owned subsidiary of LUKOIL) that Archangel Diamond Corporation (ADC) Liquidation Trust’s case against LUKOIL could not be pursued in the United States. By this decision the Supreme Court has put an end to ADC’s pursuit of any further litigation in the United States. The verdict of November 7, 2016 is final and non-appealable. The case was initially filed in November 2001 in Colorado State Court.
An Italian regulator is investigating the sale of diamonds through bank branches across the country after a TV report alleged the stones were missold to the public, writes Reuters. Several Italian banks distribute diamonds for diamond brokers, an unusual partnership that generated around 300 million euros ($332.88 million) in sales for the brokers last year. State channel Rai3 said in October that several banks sold diamonds as financial products in bank branches at twice the market price.
In his latest Diamond Intelligence Briefing, "A Fraud in Progress... A Criminal Conspiracy to Default Hits Indian Exporters", industry insider Chaim Even-Zohar unravels a massive case of fraud perpetrated by a rogue diamond broker and US-based buyers against Indian diamond suppliers, currently estimated at $35-50 million.
Diamond smuggling in China, an issue that has received significant press in recent years, is not going away.
Earlier this week, Michelle Graff of National Jeweler reported that Tiffany's had been awarded $5.5 million in their legal dispute with Costco. A New York jury has now ruled that wholesale merchandiser Costco must pay them an additional $8.25 million, potentially bringing the total to $13.75 million pending the judges verdict.
A New York security guard who took $5 million in diamonds accidentally thrown on a pile of garbage by construction workers outside a jewelry store will avoid jail time by agreeing to a plea. Wilfred Martinez, 48, pleaded guilty to grand larceny in Manhattan Supreme Court in exchange for six months probation, the New York Post reported.
Diamond and jewelry tycoon Lev Leviev has won more than $100 million from an arbitration panel in battle against his former business partner, the Julius Klein Group, The New York Post and other sources report. Lawyers for losing side tried but failed to have the court documents sealed in the Manhattan federal court case. But Judge Andrew L. Carter Jr. agreed only to redact the amount of the award, which the Post cited industry sources as saying was “well north of $100 million.”
Three Texas men are awaiting trial after allegedly tricking 77 investors out of $6.5 million in a diamond investment fraud scheme, according to the U.S. Justice Department. The men have all been charged with wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, while two are also accused of mail fraud, according to the Dallas Morning News. They could face 20 years in federal prison if convicted.
The Jewelers Vigilance Committee (JVC) has appointed Miya Owens as its Assistant Counsel, replacing Sara Yood who was recently promoted to be the JVC's Senior Counsel. Owens has extensive experience in anti-money laundering and regulatory compliance counseling as well as a mediator. Owen will support the work of JVC legal department. She will primarily be engaged in mediation work, to assist resolving the nearly 300 cases JVC undertakes each year. She will also perform legal research and answer member questions relating to their compliance obligations.
The Board of Directors of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee has created a search committee to identify and hire a President, CEO & General Counsel to replace Cecilia Gardner, who is stepping down from the position in 2017. Steven Kaiser, Chairman of the Board of Directors of JVC, said: “We are grateful for Cecilia’s 18 years of service to the JVC and her unwavering dedication to ethics and legal compliance in the jewelry industry.
A special operations unit from the Catalan police in Barcelona arrested five alleged members of the so-called "Pink Panther" gang of jewel thieves on Friday. The thieves, one armed with a pistol, tried to rob a jewelry store on the city's famous Passeig de Gracia avenue, a police statement said, adding that the officers were waiting for the gang. The operation was part of a larger investigation with different crime units in Spain, and with the collaboration of the Serbian and German police, Reuters reported. The police recovered the jewelry that the gang was trying to steal.
JCK's Rob Bates reports on the Global Law Enforcement Diamond Forum held in The Hague, Netherlands at the end of June where members of the diamond industry mixed with agents from the FBI, Interpol and NGOs and heard presentations on one of the trade’s least favorite topics: are diamonds being used for money laundering and terrorist financing. "By the end, attendees came to two conclusions: First, the law enforcement attention on the diamond business is not going away. Second, that might not be so bad. Many in the trade didn’t always think that way.
The 100-year-old Indian diamond house and one of the largest in the trade, Shrenuj & Co., has run into trouble as lenders tighten their grip on the group which has survived across four generations, reported The Economic Times last week. Banks - including Bank of India and ICICI - with a combined exposure of around $450 million, have obtained a court order to repossess the company's diamond inventory and restrict the promoters' travel.
India's Enforcement Directorate (ED) has requested information from authorities in the United Arab Emirates relating to the Winsome Group. Winsome Diamonds and Jewellery owes in excess of $1 billion to a group of banks. In addition to the ED which is looking into money laundering allegations, India's Central Bureau of Investigation is investigating several people connected with Winsome, The Economic Times of India reports.
American law firm Federman & Sherwood has started an investigation on behalf of investors of Signet Jewelers Ltd. on whether Signet and certain of its officers and/or directors violated sections of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
The system at the Israeli Diamond Exchange in Ramat Gan is built on trust, yet the arrest of veteran diamantaire Hanan Abramovich triggering an investigation into accusations that he defrauded fellow traders of $65m worth of money and stones, writes Financial Times, threatens to have a direct effect on traders who have allegedly lost out.
Brazilian prosecutors filed a $44 billion civil suit against two of the world's largest mining companies, Vale SA, BHP Billiton Ltd. and their iron-ore venture over a November dam rupture which has been called, “the worst environmental disaster in Brazil’s history”, killing as many as 19 people and causing severe environmental damage.
Jewelers of America (JoA) has ramped up advocacy efforts in Washington, D.C., writes InStoreMag, holding meetings with congressional leaders to support the jewelry industry’s recommendations to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on its proposed changes to the Guides for the Jewelry, Precious Metals, and Pewter Industries - specifically, use of the term “cultured” to describe synthetic diamonds - the trade association said in a release. The association is also planning a two-day fly-in to D.C.
According to Tel Aviv Magistrates Court Judge Ronit Poznanski-Katz, suspicions are hardening against diamond dealer Hanan Abramovich, suspected of forgery and fraud totaling $60 million, and the judge extended Abramovich's remand for the fifth time, this time by four days. "The array of documents submitted to the Court and a confidential report filed by the police put the reasonable suspicion concerning the crimes attributed to the suspect, which include other crimes besides fraud (including forgery and money laundering) on a firmer basis." Also released for the first time was the name of o
The Indian government says it will make every effort to bring back the 106-carat Koh-i-Noor diamond, which is part of the British crown jewels, only days after its solicitor general told the supreme court it would not request their return, writes The Guardian.
Israel Police are investigating serious allegations of a huge diamond theft at the Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE) which could lead to the bankruptcy of up to a dozen diamond companies at the bourse. The suspicions center on veteran diamond dealer Hanan Abramovich who is suspected of stealing the diamonds and was arrested on Tuesday evening. Details of the investigation indicate that diamonds valued at around $60 million are involved, the Globes web site reported.
A gang of fraudsters allegedly paid for watches, jewelry and diamonds with Monopoly money in three scams said to have been executed in London, Bristol and Leeds, a jury at a trial at Bristol Crown Court was told. The scams, some of which are admitted, all involve real euros being switched for bundles of fake notes marked either "facsimile" or "Monopoly" in deals worth a total of millions of euros.
The Antwerp World Diamond Centre has forwarded an alert from Kimberley Process authorities about a fake KP certificate issued from Sierra Leone. The warning reads:
Reports from multiple sources are starting to detail the murky structures hiding the tremendous wealth accumulated by certain players in the diamond and gold trade that emerged through last week's release of the Panama Papers.