Court Convicts Four in Antwerp Diamond Center TheftMay 22, 05
A Belgian court has handed out jail sentences ranging from five to ten years and heavy fines to a gang of four Italians found guilty of breaking into the basement vaults of a diamond center building in
During the weekend of February 15-16, 2003, the four broke into over 123 of the 160 safes in the basement of the Grunberger building vaults, removing an estimated €100 million in rough and polished diamonds, jewelry and other goods.
The daring break-in, in the heart of the Antwerp Diamond Exchange was discovered only on the following Monday morning when people returned to work. At the time it was estimated that many of the goods were not insured.
The stolen goods were never recovered.
On Thursday, the court sentenced the ring leader, Leonardo Notabartolo, to 10 years and a €1 million fine for his part in the break-in. He reportedly set up a shell company in the diamond center, which allowed him to study security measures in the exchange area.
The rest, Ferdinando Finotto, Elio D’Onorio and Pietro Tavano, were sentenced to five years in jail and fined €5,000. In addition, all four were ordered by the court to pay an additional €4.5 million in damages to civil plaintiffs.