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Articles from DIAMONDS BY CUT - BRILLIANT (ROUND) (284 Articles), DIAMOND GRADING / CERTIFICATION (73 Articles)




Several diamonds with inflated HRD Antwerp grading reports were sold for more than their actual value
Several diamonds with inflated HRD Antwerp grading reports were sold for more than their actual value

Diamond fraud; harsh sentences handed down

A group of diamond traders have been sentenced for bribing an international grading laboratory employee and committing fraud in relation to diamond grading reports.

According to a statement from the grading laboratory, HRD Antwerp, the Correctional Court of Antwerp imposed “severe sanctions” on the parties involved, including “effective incarceration, forfeiture of certain rights and substantial financial penalties and compensations”.

Peter Macken, HRD Antwerp CEO
Peter Macken, HRD Antwerp CEO

The judgement related to a 2012 incident wherein the traders allegedly bribed an HRD Antwerp employee to fraudulently inflate the colour grades on their diamond certificates. This reportedly allowed the traders to sell the falsely certified diamonds at a significantly higher price than their actual value.

While four diamond traders were sentenced, five parties were accused, and the public prosecutor submitted an appeal to impose even heavier penalties on another company implicated in the crime.

When prompted for further detail, an HRD Antwerp spokesperson told Jeweller that the grading laboratory was not lawfully able to disclose any further information about the parties involved.

HRD Antwerp confirmed, however, that all diamond companies that took part in the fraud, along with their representatives, had been declared “persona non grata” and were no longer welcome as customers of the grading laboratory. Further to this, the HRD Antwerp employees involved were fired.

HRD supports court ruling

HRD Antwerp CEO Peter Macken said the grading laboratory fully supported the court’s ruling on what he described as an “isolated case”.

“It’s extremely important such violations do not remain without consequences,” he commented. “The imposed sanctions are therefore a strong signal towards the industry that such practices are not tolerated.”

Ari Epstein, Antwerp World Diamond Centre CEO
Ari Epstein, Antwerp World Diamond Centre CEO

Ari Epstein, CEO of Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC), expressed a similar sentiment, saying, “We are pleased that the court hands down very harsh penalties on these types of crimes. These judgments deliver an unmistakable message: those who break the rules will be punished severely.

“In our industry, everything depends on trust – when you give your word, you keep it. Those that violate that principle damage the reputation of the entire industry, and that is simply unacceptable.”

The news comes a month after the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) announced the invalidation of 1,042 diamond grading reports that had been fraudulently altered by a third party. At the time of publication, there had been no new developments in the GIA’s investigation.

Founded in 1976, HRD Antwerp is believed to be one of the largest diamond grading laboratories in the world. AWDC, a non-profit foundation that represents the Belgium diamond industry, is its primary shareholder.

More reading
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Police nab suspects over altered diamond reports
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Industry on high alert for undisclosed treated diamonds




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Sunday, 12 July, 2020 12:16am
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