103 accused in record diamond fraud trial
The defendants in the biggest-ever trial for diamond fraud are accused of cheating the government out of €500 million
Forgery and laundering among charges
The prosecution alleges that the diamond transporter Monstrey Worldwide Services set up four circuits that allowed its customers to import and export diamonds without paying tax. Representatives of Monstrey and 36 diamond trading companies stand together in the dock. Among them is the leading company Rosy Blue and its owner, Dilip Mehta, who was made a baron by King Albert in 2006.
The case came to light in 2005 when Monstrey couriers were found in possession of large sums of cash without being able to give a satisfactory explanation of where it came from. The accused face charges of forgery, tax fraud, money laundering and criminal conspiracy.
The court has scheduled 16 sittings to hear arguments, including 67 hours of pleas from the defence. The trial is expected to finish in about four weeks, barring delays.
Photo courtesy Antwerpen Toerisme en Congres
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