47th Street and “The Feds”

Yesterday, a number of people told me that they saw a lot of law enforcement on one of the floors of 580 Fifth Avenue. I’ve checked all the official sources, and there appears to be no arrest of anyone made yesterday. The company the rumor mill says was “visited” has denied it to me. So at this stage it’s all talk. Even so, unless there was a mass hallucination, it does appear there was some serious law enforcement poking around 580 yesterday, even if no one is quite sure why they were there.

As we all know, the DMIA has asked federal authorities to look into the reports of bribery at the GIA. But, as a wise person told me recently, if the Feds ever do take up the GIA bribery case, it will probably be in the context  of a larger investigation into money laundering and other misdeeds on 47th Street.

Now, things like tax evasion and “black money” used to be talked about pretty openly when I first started working this beat. And in the years I’ve been doing this, I have heard several tales of people largely considered “decent” who were charged with crimes. Since then, I like to think the industry has cleaned up substantially. But I can’t imagine it has all gone away.

This industry used to be frightened about getting law enforcement in its business, even when there was obvious wrongdoing, like memo “bust-outs.” The DMIA’s appeal to the Feds is, perhaps, a sign of maturity, and the industry’s increased compliance with the law. Still, scattered arrests have made it clear the Feds have been watching the diamond industry for some time. They will likely now be watching even closer.

One final note: It is sad I have to do this, but comments will be monitored for this post …

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