Diamond dealer defrauded KBC of €63 million

Summary

A man now thought to have fled to Israel built up millions of euros in debts over several years, based on what appeared to be a thriving diamond dealing business in Antwerp

Suspect fled with gems

An Antwerp diamond dealer defrauded KBC bank of €63 million, the bank has alleged. The man, Erez D, is now thought to be living in Israel. KBC made the complaint in a sworn statement delivered to the Israeli authorities.

Starting in 1986, the statement alleged, Erez D built up debts worth €30 million with the KBC subsidiary Diamantbank, based on what appeared to be a thriving diamond dealing business in Antwerp. In 2005, he spent €41 million on a private jet.

However, the business wasn’t as healthy as it appeared, and when the global economic crisis struck in 2008 the holes started to show. Nevertheless, in 2011, Diamantbank, now dismantled by KBC, allowed him access to the diamonds that had been handed over as security for his loans. He fled to South Africa with the diamonds, and from there to Israel.

KBC is now trying to get the stones back. The bank declined to comment on the case.

Photo by Ingimage

Diamond sector

Antwerp is the world’s leading hub for diamond trade. For more than five centuries, diamonds have been bought, sold and cut here. The Antwerp diamond quarter has weathered revolutions, wars, occupations and, more recently, growing competition from diamond centres in emerging countries.
Bourses - Antwerp boasts four diamond trading exchanges, making Belgium the only country with this many bourses.
Antwerp Cut - The art of polishing diamonds was invented in the city.
On foot - The diamond quarter consists of two pedestrian-only streets close to Central Station.
84

percent of the world’s rough diamonds pass through the city

1 447

first record of a diamond trade in Antwerp

1 800

diamond dealers