Chapter 9. The Secret Movement of Diamonds.
again - these are excepts... but this chapter is very important for the current UN Security Council investigation into the diamond trade ..
It was not only in Zaire that the diamond cartel employed former spies and embedded itself in secrecy. Secrecy is endemic to the trade. ...
... There is a multitude of ways to conceal the origin of diamonds. The freeport trick is probably the best. De Beers has 3 European operations at inland 'freeports' situated next to airports and serviced by their private airline. One is located at the Zurich airport's freeport in Switzerland, another at Shannon airport's freeport in Eire and the other is at the freeport on the Isle of Man. De Beers' planes can usually taxi directly from the runway into the De Beers' compound. De Beers thus can unload a cargo of diamonds, gold or any other commodity with minimal risk.
Diamonds can get new identity papers easiest at the Zurich freeport... But when the Swiss government felt nervous about its role as a haven for South African diamonds, the flow from southern Africa stopped as abruptly as it had started. Instead a new flood of diamonds came into Switzerland from Bermuda, a country with coconuts and no diamond mines. De Beers had done their accustomed alchemy. In 1991 Bermuda dispatched diamonds worth US$583 million to Switzerland
... This was even stranger when further the official records were further examined. English customs recorded only US$70 million worth of diamond exports to Switzerland in 1987. Clearly on the way to Switzerland De Beers waved the magic wand and multiplied them tenfold. Switzerland recorded over US$700 million worth of diamonds arriving from England. De Beers also wove a similar magic over Swiss exports. British customs that same year recorded three times more diamonds arriving from Switzerland than Switzerland recorded sending to Britian.
... There was still more powerful sorcery in other years.
....There was something familiar for me in these registered addresses. When I previously researched the international arms trade, I traced the movement of funds from Western intelligence agencies or from other, perhaps more dubious, institutions, to arms dealers and manufacturers. I found these funds were laundered through the same countries that quietly hosted the cartel companies. These countries were the registered addresses of a thousand extremely nasty operations. Some of these permitted the use of bearer shares - making it impossible to trace ownership or corporate responsibility further - a device allegedly used by President Mobutu among others..
... the De Beers connection was typically carefully concealed. The Angolan government gave its diamonds to 'Mining and Technical Services'- a company not ostensibly connected to the cartel, thus avoiding political embarrassment. However this was a cartel company hidden behind the usual smokescreen. It was incorporated in Liechtenstein but had its main office in London, adjacent to the De Beers offices. ...
and much much more