Diamonds / Industry / Legal

U.S. Treasury Sanctions Grib Diamonds


The U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) on Sept. 14 sanctioned AGD Diamonds, the Russian company that owns Grib Diamonds. Grib, which has sales headquarters in Belgium but sells from the Grib mine in Russia, was also sanctioned.

U.S. citizens and businesses are forbidden from conducting transactions with sanctioned entities. In addition, the U.S. assets of OFAC-designated companies are frozen, and the companies cannot conduct business in dollars or in the United States.

AGD sells production from the Grib diamond pipe in the northwestern part of Russia. Discovered in 1995, the pipe was named after Russian geologist Vladimir Grib. It accounts for an estimated 10 percent of Russia’s diamond production.

For years, Grib was considered Russia’s sole nongovernment diamond producer. In 2021, it filed for bankruptcy and was taken over by state-owned VTB Bank, which has also been sanctioned.

Alrosa, the miner that is one-third owned by the Russian government and produces around 90 percent of Russia’s diamonds, has already been sanctioned by OFAC.

OFAC also sanctioned Russian official Vitalij Victorovich Perfilev, a Wagner Group official who is currently serving as the national security adviser to the president of the Central African Republic. This “is important to the jewelry industry because of the links between the Wagner Group and the sub-Saharan African gold sector that were outlined in the six-U.S.-agency business risk advisory issued in June 2023,” the Jewelers Vigilance Committee (JVC) said in a statement.

JVC warned: “Any jewelry business that was transacting with these entities should immediately cease doing business. Jewelry businesses are encouraged to continue the risk-evaluation process they have already been undertaking, including using their AML [anti-money laundering]/KYC [know your customer] framework to step back into the supply chain and ensure they fully understand the scope of their diamond sourcing.”

It added: “U.S. businesses should continue to review their sourcing protocols, discuss requirements with suppliers, and evaluate their supply chains using due diligence guidance.”

(Photo courtesy of Grib Diamonds)

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By: Rob Bates

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