EU makes u-turn on sanctioning diamond giant – media
Alrosa, the Russian state-run diamond miner, has been excluded from the EU’s next round of sanctions, the EUobserver reported on Wednesday, citing European Commission papers.
The world’s largest diamond mining operation by volume was initially listed in the draft proposal of the bloc’s eighth sanction package. The enterprise allegedly provided direct financing of a new Russian naval submarine and fed billions of euros a year into the military budget.
However, Alrosa stayed off the final list that includes 29 individuals and seven legal entities. Belgium, home to the world’s largest diamond trading hub, Antwerp, blocked the EU embargo.
The U-turn reportedly came after Belgian diplomats and Antwerp Diamond Centre lobbyists raised red flags over the move that could cost thousands of jobs in the city.
Moscow-traded shares of the diamond miner, which is responsible for around 90% of Russia’s capacity, were up on the news.
In April, Alrosa, whose exports exceeded $4.5 billion last year alone, was placed on the sanction list of the US Treasury and State Department, along with the United Shipbuilding Corporation.
In June, the company managed to avoid a Western-backed attempt to prevent Russian precious stones from being sold on the global market. Ukraine, the EU, Australia, Britain, Canada, and the US were reportedly planning to put forward a proposal aimed at broadening the definition of conflict diamonds, used by the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS). The effort was set to potentially label Russian gemstones as ‘blood diamonds’, but failed after Russia, Belarus, the Central African Republic, Kyrgyzstan, and Mali voiced their objections.
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