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Diamond Shareholders’ Complaints in the Court

2003: Diamond Shareholders’ Complaints Received their Respond

Dec. 2003

Earlier this year, De Beers was told by the European Commission that they could formally implement Supplier of Choice, and that the strategy was not in conflict with EC anti-trust laws. But after De Beers dropped a group of sightholders in June, it may find itself back in legal limbo.

In a blow to Supplier of Choice, a court in Antwerp court has stopped the Diamond Trading Company from severing its relationship with a sightholder after just six months notice.

According to the court, the sightholder—A. Spira Diamanthandel Bvba—should continue to be supplied rough for an additional nine months.

This ruling is significant in that it not only opens the doors for legal battles by other dropped sightholders, but also proves that De Beers can be sued in courts around the world. De Beers has said it will appeal the ruling.

While the court can force De Beers to sell to these sightholders, the court does not have control over the type of the goods they will receive, so it is perfectly possible that the sightholder will not get what he expects.

Meanwhile another sightholder, IDH Diamonds in Antwerp, has filed a complaint with the European Commission after it was dropped

Responding to a question posed by European parliament member, EC anti-trust director Mario Monti, said that, although the EC approved De Beers’ Supplier of Choice (SOC) initiative in January, it had committed itself to monitoring the market and had reserved the right to reopen the file should new developments “induce it to modify its position.”

He stressed that the commission intends to fully maintain its commitment and will continue to watch the implementation of SOC.

The European Commission is also ruling on De Beers’ new contract with Alrosa.


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