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Belgium arrests diamond traders for import of Russian rough

On March 22, the Belgian public prosecutor’s office announced the arrest of four individuals for their alleged involvement in importing diamonds, potentially of Russian origin, into Antwerp. This development comes amid heightened scrutiny following sanctions imposed on Russia.

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Antwerp’s federal judicial police conducted six house searches, resulting in the arrests and seizure of documents and digital media. The diamond shipments in question were intercepted by authorities at the end of February.

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While Antwerp had implemented a ban on Russian polished diamonds over a certain size on March 1, importing Russian rough diamonds into the European Union had been illegal since the beginning of the year.

Reports suggest that rough diamonds valued at $24 million were seized during the raids. Some traders reportedly attempted to circumvent the restrictions by falsifying the country of origin on paperwork.

Belgian authorities uncovered the deception after discovering original Russian documentation among the seized materials.

Although the identities of the arrested individuals were not disclosed, the public prosecutor’s office provided their ages as 41, 43, 47, and 64.

This incident underscores the ongoing efforts to enforce sanctions and prevent the illicit trade of diamonds with potential ties to sanctioned entities, reflecting the broader international response to geopolitical tensions.

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