The past few weeks, Headline’s research team has been working on an important story for DPG media: how the Antwerp diamond sector helps finance Russia’s war on Ukraine, and how it has so far escaped EU sanctions.
The past 4 rounds of EU sanctions have left the Antwerp diamond sector untouched. However, 1/4 of the turnover of the Antwerp diamond sector depends on raw Russian diamonds. They come from Alrosa; the Russian state-owned diamond mining company (and the biggest diamond producer in the world).
Sergey Ivanov, Alrosa’s CEO, is the son of Putin’s former Chief of Staff and Defense Minister (and fellow ex-KGB). Both Alrosa and its CEO are on the US sanctions list, but not on the EU sanctions list.
We researched how the diamond lobby helped to keep them off the EU list in the first 4 rounds. We found proof that Alrosa helps finance the war (via a submarine they sponsor + via money flows to the Kremlin). We also found that Alrosa has links with Rosatom, which manages the Russian nuclear weapons complex. And we found that Antwerp actually functions as a gateway to still sell Russian diamonds in the US, by considering them as “Belgian” diamonds after they are polished in Antwerp.
Our research led to articles in newspapers Het Laatste Nieuws and De Morgen; on news site HLN; and to reportages on TV station VTM. Our stories were widely picked up both nationally and internationally, and Belgian politicians from several political parties are now calling for Alrosa and its CEO to be included in the 5th round of EU sanctions, which will be decided in the coming days.