Industry Official Denies Charge Aired by WikiLeaks

World Federation of Diamond Bourses vice president Ernest Blom has “categorically” denied charges in a cable that appeared on the site WikiLeaks.org alleging that he was dealing in rough diamonds from the Marange area of Zimbabwe.

The November 2008 cable includes a claim from African Consolidated Resources CEO Andrew Cranswick that Blom, who is also WFDB honorary president, “has been known to boast of his involvement in illegal Zimbabwean diamonds.”

In a letter to WFDB president Avi Paz, Blom stated: “I categorically deny any illegal trading or [that I] boasted about it, as Cranswick allegedly said in the dispatch. I had never travelled to Harare before I went up there as part of the KP review mission in 2007. I have only ever met Cranswick twice in my life. The last time [was] more than a year ago when he tried to elicit my assistance to get his mine back, which I declined.”

“It is clear that this dispatch [published by WikiLeaks] is unsubstantiated hearsay and I reserve my right to take legal action against any person or establishment that brings my name into disrepute,” Blom concluded.

Blom noted that Cranswick distanced himself from the remarks in a South African newspaper article published after the cables were made public, claiming he had been misquoted.

African Consolidated Resources has had its Chiadzwa diamond claim in the Marange district of Manicaland seized by the government-controlled Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe.

Other excerpts from the cables, focusing on the situation in the Marange diamond fields following the arrival of Zimbabwe military forces, can be seen here.