Archive

  • 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.

  • The U.S. Federal Trade Commission, which investigates allegations of deceptive advertising, sent eight letters to jewelry marketers warning them that some of their online advertisements of jewelry made with simulated or laboratory-created diamonds may deceive consumers, in violation of the FTC Act. The organization warned that failure to follow the Guides may result in enforcement actions if the FTC determines the companies engaged in unfair or deceptive acts or practices.

  • The Angolan authorities have shut down 279 diamonds sale and purchase houses, as well as canceled the activity of 122 co-operatives dealing in diamonds exploration, 52 days after the start of the “Operation Transparency”, announced last Wednesday in the northern Malanje Province, reports Angolan Press outlet ANGOP. “Operation Transparency” is essentially intended to fight illegal immigration, illegal exploration of diamonds and put a stop to environmental crimes committed in the ambit of the irregular prospecting of minerals.

  • 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.”

  • Rosy Blue and Vijay Gold Designs, two of Sears Holdings Corp.'s prominent jewelry suppliers, have challenged the retailer's plans to liquidate 142 stores in bankruptcy, saying some of the inventory they have furnished to Sears was on consignment. On October 15, Sears - once an innovative icon of the retail industry - filed for Chapter 11 in New York federal court to provide restructuring and financial relief for the organization.

  • Billed as a "Great opportunity for retailers, wholesalers, manufacturers and deal-makers!', the bankruptcty trustee of Firestar Diamond, Inc. and Fantasy, Inc. is liquidating the inventory and intellectual property of Firestar and Fantasy, including diamond and jewelry inventories as well as their patents, trademarks and associated jewelry. These companies manufactured and supplied fine diamond jewelry to the largest and most significant retailers and online sellers in the US and globally, but will disappear following the liquidation sales.

  • Last week, the United States' Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of allowing states to collect sales tax from online retailers even when a retailer has no physical presence in that state, sending shock waves and uncertainty across the retail landscape. States argued they were losing out on billions of dollars worth of online sales taxes annually as a result of the precedent set by  a 1992 court decision, Quill Corp vs. North Dakota; the new Wayfair v.

  • 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.

  • The trade is facing its #MeToo moment after stories of degrading behavior emerge. In her blog and trade journal Barbara Palumbo, who has spent 30 years in the jewelry and watch industry, wrote about the prevalence of sexual harassment in the industry — “Women deal with this literally every single day in our industry”.

  • 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

  • Indian federal agents launched an investigation into billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi, one of the country’s richest men, over accusations that he and others defrauded a state bank of $44 million.

  • Galatea Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sarine Technologies Ltd, is taking legal action against a manufacturer in Surat, India, for their allegedly fraudulent use of Sarine's Galaxy® inclusion mapping technology and systems, the company said in a statement. Galatea claims the company has been practising deliberate under-reporting of rough stone weights and underpayment of amounts owed to Galatea for the scanning of the rough stones. 

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Sarine, a developer of technologies for the diamond industry, stated in a press release that two Indian suspects were arrested in Tel Aviv on suspicion of attempted theft of Sarine's Intellectual Property. The two were arrested during a meeting in which US$100,000 in cash was handed over as advance payment against an agreed US$1,000,000 to be paid in exchange for Sarine’s GalaxyTM system schematics, list of parts and vendors thereof and software source code. 

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Diamond smuggling in China, an issue that has received significant press in recent years, is not going away.

  • Thirteen years after the the United States government initially banned the import of all gemstones from Burma (Myanmar) to put pressure on the military junta that had ignored democratic elections, placed Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest, and persecuted minority groups throughout the country, U.S. sanctions on imports of the Burmese gemstones were officially lifted by an executive order on October 7.

  • 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 federal jury in New York awarded Tiffany & Co. $5.5 million in damages last week in part one of a two-part verdict being handed down in its case against Costco Wholesale Corp., writes Michelle Graff for National Jeweler.

  • De Beers has won a domain name dispute at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). According to Bird & Bird, the law firm that represented De Beers, this is the first decision on a .feedback generic top-level domain (gTLD) registration, worldipreview.com reported.

  • Four Israeli diamond dealers have appeared in court in Tel Aviv accused of holding close to 100 million shekels ($21 million) at HSBC Switzerland that was not reported to the Israel Tax Authority authorities. The unnamed diamond dealers allegedly held undeclared accounts at the bank, the tax authority said on Thursday, Reuters reported. A Tel Aviv court later agreed to release them after posting bail. All four have denied the allegations.