Diamonds / Industry

HB Antwerp Cofounders Split, Plan Court Fight


There’s tension at the top of HB Antwerp, the three-year-old diamond company whose meteoric rise has led to partnerships with the government of Botswana and Lucara Diamond.

Company cofounder Oded Mansori (pictured) is taking legal action against the company in Belgian court after being removed as a director, he said in a statement. He remains a company shareholder.

On Sept. 1, fellow cofounders Rafael Papismedov and Shai de Toledo “took the initiative to deviate from the collective vision and mutual agreements,” Mansori said in an emailed statement. “Their actions aim to remove Mansori, and with him, his vision and capacities from HB.”

An HB statement responded that “as part of the company’s development, on Sept. 1, HB terminated Oded Mansori’s management role in all the HB companies due to a sharp difference in strategic vision and approaches to business.”

It declined further comment, “to respect due process and the Belgian court system.”

Mansori’s statement said that HB’s five partners had occasional “differences of opinion” but always managed to find “common ground.” HB Antwerp’s Code of Conduct lists five managing partners: Mansori, de Toledo, Papismedov, Boaz Lev, and Roy Seber. A spokesperson says the company currently has three directors: de Toledo, Papismedov, and Lev.

Before cofounding HB Antwerp, Mansori was CEO of Rare Diamond House and managing director of the Steinmetz Group’s polished division in Antwerp.

The government of Botswana announced in March that it was taking a 24% equity stake in HB, but it hasn’t released any information on how much the country is paying for its share. In July, minister of mines Lefoko Moagi told Botswana’s parliament there was still “no signed agreement” between the country and HB, so he couldn’t offer any details.

Since 2020, HB has had a deal with Botswanan miner Lucara to buy its biggest diamonds, in exchange for giving Lucara a percentage of the final polished price. The two signed a long-term partnership agreement in November that extended the deal by 10 years.

(Photo courtesy of Oded Mansori)

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By: Rob Bates

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