"A Diamond is forever"
De Beers antitrust action finally final
Payments from the class action brought against De Beers look like they
may finally be sent out, six years after the case was first settled.
The US Supreme Court, making way for De Beers to finalise compensation payments to claimants, has denied a final appeal in the antitrust class action that accused diamond-mining company De Beers of price fixing.
The milestone is also good news for De Beers, allowing it more freedom to expand its operations in the United States.
The case was first settled in 2006, and was approved by a federal judge in 2008, ordering De Beers to pay out around $300 million in total to trade companies and consumers that bought its diamonds. The diamond giant agreed to the settlement, but several appeals by plaintiff lawyers have held up the payments for four years since.
Plaintiff lawyer Jared Stamell said that there will not be any more appeals, and expected that trade companies would begin to receive cheques within two months.
De Beers’ director of communcations David Prager said that De Beers was pleased the case was nearing its end.
“This normalises business for De Beers in America. If you think about the past century, this is a milestone moment,” he said.
“A lot of the past restrictions we have had previously are now gone,” he added. “It is no secret that it was very difficult for us when we travelled to America. We have clearly not jumped into America with both feet and we have resisted contracting with American companies. When you have normalised business in the States, a lot of those things fall away and you have a lot more opportunities.”
The De Beers antitrust case is final, six years after the inital settlement
De Beers has been treading carefully in the American market while the case progressed. US companies have not been allowed to be involved in auctions at De Beers subsidiary Diamdel, while JCK has even reported that De Beers CEO Philippe Mellier met with clients outside of their offices as a precaution.
The money may be coming, but claimants won’t be too excited. Jewelers Vigilance Committee president and CEO Cecilia Gardner has previously stated that the settlements won’t be life changing, with trade claimants likely to get a payment of “enough to take your staff out to lunch”.
Possible end to De Beers antitrust case
Posted May 29, 2012