RAPAPORT… The Diamond Trading Company (DTC) has lifted the suspension it imposed upon six sightholders for their conviction by an Antwerp Court involving a case concerning tax evasion in the late 1990s.
“Considering each separate case on its merits, the DTC can confirm that it is lifting its suspension of supply to the sightholders concerned on confirmation, where relevant, that appropriate remedial action has been taken,” DTC confirmed in a statement.
DTC spokesperson Louise Prior told Rapaport News that following the company’s meeting with each sightholder one week ago, it was satisfied that there were no criminal judgments against any of the companies involved.
“Any criminal judgments were passed against individuals who were no longer associated with the sightholders,” she said.
DTC, on January 8, 2008, suspended supply to six sightholders, four of which will continue their status into the new contract period, following an earlier decision by the Antwerp Correctional Court convicting them and others of tax evasion and money laundering during the period 1994 through 1999 according to the explanation given by one of the convicted sightholders. A civil settlement has been reached in the case.
Pending due diligence, DTC suspended the sightholders out of concern that the companies breached DTC’s supplier of choice best practices principles.
The affected sightholders reportedly argued that since the events in question took place before July 2003 when supplier of choice was introduced, they should not be held accountable.
A representative from one company, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he felt DTC should have met with the sightholders before implementing the suspension.
“They should’ve listened first because this has caused us temporary damage,” he said. “Ultimately, though, it sends a good message to the industry that they are going to be strict on compliance and that we all need to achieve a maximum level of best practice.”
DTC said it would it would supply the companies with their goods withheld from the January sight.