On Oct. 11, the Antwerp prosecutor’s office carried out a series of searches at a local diamond company, which the Belgian media identified as a seller for Russian diamond producer Grib Diamonds.
The prosecutor’s office was looking into possible money laundering and violations of a European Union (EU) regulation, a spokesperson said.
Grib accounts for about 10% of Russia’s diamond production. In 2021, Grib’s Russian parent company AGD Diamonds was acquired by VTB Bank, a state-owned entity that has been sanctioned by the European Union. AGD was sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury last month.
“The company in question is a wholesaler of rough diamonds, but is said to be under the control of entities on the European Union’s sanctions list,” said a statement from the prosecutor’s office. “To avoid sanctions, the diamond company is said to have moved most of its stock outside the European Union. During the searches in the diamond quarter, the financial section of the Federal Judicial Police Antwerp was able to confiscate diamonds with a total value of $1.5 million.
“It seems that the Russian business managers have disappeared into thin air,” the statement continued. “The corporate court is also closely monitoring developments and appointed a restructuring expert.”
The Antwerp prosecutor’s office did not respond to a request for comment, and Grib could not be reached.
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