No Prosecutions over HRD Antwerp Upgrade Claims

No Prosecutions over HRD Antwerp Upgrade Claims

Nobody is to be charged over newspaper allegations that HRD Antwerp routinely bumped up diamond gradings.

The public prosecutor’s office in Belgium has concluded its investigation after claims by De Tijd in March that the lab upgraded GIA-certified diamonds by up to two color grades and one clarity grade.

HRD Antwerp, founded in 1973 and wholly-owned by the AWDC (Antwerp World Diamond Centre), welcomed the news.

Ellen Joncheere CEO at HRD Antwerp, said: “This ruling is fully in line with our expectations. We are particularly pleased that the judicial authorities have confirmed with this statement that HRD Antwerp acted correctly and ethically.

“From the start, we have always communicated transparently with the sector about our standard in grading. Every lab is free to determine their procedures and techniques. Every lab also does that.”

The investigation was launched after an acrimonious split between HRD Antwerp and its partner in Turkey in 2021 after seven years.

HRD Antwerp says it is pursuing its legal action in the Belgian courts against Mehmet Can Ozdemir and his business partners, alleging fraud and abuse of trust.

The Belgian newspaper De Tijd claimed in March that it had obtained e-mails, internal procedures, slides, audit reports and filmed board meetings and other material revealing a long-standing practice, described by one former senior staff member at HRD Antwerp as “a way to commit market fraud”.

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