Diamonds / Industry

Belgium Arrests Diamond Traders for Importing Russian Rough


On March 22, the Belgian public prosecutor’s office said it had arrested four men for allegedly importing diamonds of possible Russian origin into Antwerp.

Antwerp’s federal judicial police carried out six house searches, during which the arrests were made and documents and digital media were seized, according to the prosecutor’s office. Authorities had seized the diamond shipments at the end of February, it said.

While Antwerp imposed a ban on Russian polished over a half-carat on March 1, it’s been illegal to import Russian rough into the European Union since the beginning of the year.

A report in the Times of India said $24 million worth of rough was seized in the raids.

One trader told the publication: “To bypass the restrictions against Russian roughs, some traders are changing the country of origin on papers.”

Belgian authorities uncovered the scheme when they found some original Russian paperwork, the Times reported.

While the four men were not identified, the public prosecutor’s office listed their ages as 41, 43, 47, and 64.

(Photo courtesy of Visit Antwerp)

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By: Rob Bates

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