EU banks ban Zim diamond transactions

eu_flagHARARE Zimbabwes beleaguered diamond industry suffered another setback last week after two major European banks announced they would not finance any transactions involving gems from the southern African country.

ABN Amro and the Antwerp Diamond Bank (ADB) said reputational issues would not allow them to fund any of their clients involved in diamond deals with Zimbabwe. Chairman of the ADB executive committee Pierre de Bosscher told the

Mines to Market Conference held in Mumbai, India, last week that Zimbabwe transactions would remain until the country is removed from the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) blacklist.

OFAC is an agency of the United States Department of the Treasury under the auspices of the Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. It administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions based on US

foreign policy and national security goals against targeted foreign states, organizations and individuals.

We will not finance diamond transactions with Zimbabwe while it is still on the OFAC list, under an EU trade embargo as well as a number of other such issues, De Bosscher said. He added: We are not willing to even finance roundabout transactions in South African rands or Hong Kong dollars, because this isnt good for the transparency of the industry. The same sentiments were echoed by the chief executive of ABN Amros International Diamond & Jewellery Group, Victor van der Kwast.

Zimbabwe has been trying to regain the confidence of the international diamond industry following the controversy sparked by human rights abuses allegedly committed by the army at the Marange fields to the east of the country. Key Western markets have banned stones from the controversial fields, even after the industry watchdog Kimberley Process had cleared mining

operations at the site.

Post published in: Politics

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