De Beers may resolve legal case in July court date

Legal counsel for De Beers is scheduled to appear in an Ohio court July 13 and will likely plead guilty to the antitrust case that has dogged it for a decade.

The hearing was originally set for earlier this year, but the Judge in the case wanted the parole department to do a pre-investigation report, said court clerk Keith Mayton.

The case charges De Beers with conspiring to fix industrial diamond prices with General Electric, originally a co-defendant. GE was later found innocent, but the indictment against De Beers still stands because it never answered the charges.

It is unclear whether settling this case will mean De Beers can enter the United States in its current form, or whether it will still face further anti-trust hurdles. De Beers executives have said that settling its problems in the U.S. is a priority for the refashioned company.

De Beers isn’t likely to open an office here anytime soon; anything that happens will likely be done in incremental steps. It does mean that De Beers officials will visit here more frequently, and, on the minus side, could make De Beers the target of more U.S. lawsuits.

The lead attorney for the Justice Department in this case referred JCK to his department’s public information office, which could not be reached for comment at press time.