Antwerp Court Hands Down Harsh Punishment In Certification Fraud Case

The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) said that four traders have received "extremely harsh sentences" from the Correctional Court in Antwerp for committing fraud concerning diamond certificates.

The traders bribed an employee from the HRD Antwerp diamond lab to obtain certificates stating a higher color grade for their diamonds than is actually the case.

"This enabled them to fraudulently sell their diamonds for a substantially higher price than the actual value of the diamonds in question," the AWDC said.

"The court gave a clear signal with its harsh judgment concerning the criminal facts. The judge sentenced the five accused, including the four traders, to heavy mandatory prison sentences and substantial fines. Furthermore, the public prosecutor is also submitting an appeal to enable another firm involved to receive even heavier sentences."

Ari Epstein, CEO of AWDC, said: “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.”