First diamonds were said to fund brutal African rebellions. Then, terrorists were said to store money in gems. Now, Canadian law enforcement has linked diamonds to another unsavory group—the underworld.
The Canadian Intelligence Service recently wrote that the country’s diamond industry could attract the wrong elements. “In Canada, there is the potential, as observed in other countries, for organized crime to attempt the infiltration of the industry to arrange for diamonds to be illegally diverted from the legitimate commercial pipeline for their commercial exploitation and profit,” said the annual CIS report. “Precious stones such as diamonds have always been an attractive commodity to the criminal world due to their high value per mass weight. They have been utilized by organized crime as currency to acquire contraband such as illegal drugs and weapons, to pay for services rendered, and as a means to move and launder criminal profits.”
The CIS noted that Canada’s reputation as a producer of “clean” diamonds could attract those interested in laundering West African conflict stones. (For more on Canada, see story on page 74.)
Though the diamond comments accounted for only three pages of a 50-page report, local media seized on the warning, resulting in another dose of negative publicity for the industry.