De Beers may have settled its indictment with the Justice Department, but don’t expect to see Nicky Oppenheimer on 47th Street just yet. Managing director Gary Ralfe says a flurry of lawsuits is preventing it from setting up shop here.
The settlement with the Department of Justice “means that, in terms of American law, there is nothing reprehensible about the way De Beers organizes its business,” Ralfe told sightholders at a Diamond Trading Company cocktail party recently. “What we do still have outstanding in America are certain civil actions, but we regard these actions as being without merit.
“De Beers is in no hurry to start doing business in America; according to our geologists it is not prospective for diamonds and those that wantonly bring litigation against us need to know that De Beers is not prepared to play their game,” he added.
The De Beers retail chain—in which the company is a passive investor—is proceeding with its plans to open its first two retail stores in the United States, in New York in June and in Los Angeles in October.