AWDC Slams Report on Wagner Group Blood DiamondsDecember 06, 22
(IDEX Online ) - Russian mercenaries from the Wagner Group - a private army that has been sanctioned by the US - are reported to be selling blood diamonds from the Central African Republic (CAR).
The Belgian newspaper De Standaard claims they've been offered for sale on Facebook, and says some of the stones have reached Antwerp.
The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) reacted angrily to the report, insisting its diamond sector had no links with the Wagner Group.
The newspaper claims the mercenaries have been granted access to precious raw materials in return for military support the government of CAR, which ranks 188 out of 189 countries on the United Nations Human Development Index.
De Standaard carried out an investigation with the media network European Investigative Collaborations (EIC) and All Eyes on Wagner, a non-profit project tasked with tracking the group's activities and verifying claims of human rights and economic abuses.
The Wagner Group has been accused of numerous war crimes in Ukraine. The US has been considering whether it should be designated a foreign terrorist organization.
The group is reported to have sold diamonds to Belgium through a front company identified by De Staandard as Diamville.
In a LinkedIn post Tom Neys, AWDC's head of media relations, said: "Very disappointing that De Standaard doesn't tell the whole story. Since Diamville's inception, we know of 1 shipment of 296 carats / â‚¬ 132,000 (0.0029% of total imports in 2019), which was properly imported with a valid KP certificate from CAR (even before EU sanctions against Wagner).
"Further in 2019, 2020,2021 and 2022, Diamville did not export any diamonds to Antwerp. All Diamville's trade outside of that 1 shipment has been through other trade hubs.
"Sensational titles pretending that Antwerp functions as the revolving door for Wagner are downright wrong and show ill will."
Pic shows logo of the Wagner Group