Diamonds / Industry

De Beers Enlists D.C. Lobbyists as Russian Diamond Ban Looms


De Beers has recruited Washington, D.C., lobbying firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck to press its case with U.S. policymakers as the G7 moves closer to unveiling its plan for a ban on Russian diamonds.

The lobbying effort aims to “build support for De Beers’ G7 diamond protocol solution” and “build De Beers’ brand with Washington policymakers,” according to a Senate filing.

Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck’s team for De Beers, first reported on Politico, will include Samantha Carl-Yoder, co-chair of the firm’s international practice and a 20-year veteran of the State Department; Lauren Diekman, who also worked at the State Department and is the former director of the U.S.-India Business Council at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; Kate ​Gonzales, a former aide for Sen. Krysten Sinema; and former House Financial Services Committee staff member David Cohen. Earlier this year, De Beers filed a lobbying disclosure form that listed De Beers executives Al Cook, Feriel ​Zerouki, and David Prager as representatives of the company.

De Beers spokesperson David Johnson tells JCK: “We’re always working to engage constructively with governments to pursue aligned goals and values, and we regularly seek out expert partners to support us in that effort.”

The G7, which includes the United States, is readying its plans for a ban on Russian diamond imports. The ban, expected to be put in place in the new year, should include “a full traceability system to exclude Russian diamonds from all the markets,” Belgian prime minister Alesander de Croo told The Guardian on Wednesday. “We are very close to finalizing such a full traceability system.”

In related news, De Beers’ Tracr system has joined forces with Sarine (which runs another leading traceability program, Diamond Journey) to develop what a corporate statement calls “a scalable, cost-effective solution for use in tracking diamonds from their source to the point of entry into G7 countries.”

The project will combine “Sarine’s ability to perform objective verification of a diamond’s journey from rough to polished using verifiable data, which is uploaded onto the Tracr platform,” the statement said. “The digital platform will then host a dedicated Customs portal to be used by government officials from the G7 and other countries.”

According to the statement, over 100 million diamonds currently use Sarine’s systems annually, and more than 1.5 million rough diamonds have been registered on Tracr.

“The solution is expected to have minimal impact on the supply chain,” the statement said. “Both Tracr and Sarine have a broad presence in the diamond industry, making this a solution that can be scaled quickly and effectively.”

(Photo courtesy of the U.S. Capitol Police)

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By: Rob Bates

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