Expatica news

Antwerp soloution to diamond seizure

23 October 2008

The chief public prosecutor of Antwerp has said that the seizure of a large amount of diamonds in the port city last week was not intended to target the important Antwerp diamond trade.

The diamonds, worth 150 million euros, were seized by Antwerp judicial authorities as part of an investigation into possible fraud.

The seizure upset the Antwerp World Diamond Centre which represents the local industry saying the action was "excessive".

The Centre feels that it is impossible to trade diamonds in such conditions.

The Antwerp chief public prosecutor denies that the Antwerp diamond trade was targeted in the course of this operation. The action was taken to counter malfeasant acts which have been observed in the trade.

The public prosecutor says that forgery and infringements of VAT legislation, whether they are perpetrated by criminal organisations or not, must be dealt with.

Together with the Antwerp diamond industry public prosecutors want to seek a solution to the impact the seizure has had on diamond stocks.

The seized diamonds can be released if companies provide a surety.

Because of the ongoing investigation the chief public prosecutor’s office prefers not to discuss the seizure itself at the moment.