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Lawmakers Seek Review of Sanction ‘Loopholes’

Apr 7, 2022 8:32 AM   By Rapaport News
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Eleven US Congress members have asked the government to reconsider details that severely limit the impact of the recent sanctions against Russian diamonds.

President Joe Biden’s March 11 executive order bans imports of diamonds with Russian origin but doesn’t cover polished that was manufactured in other locations. This means rough Alrosa supplies to cutters in India and Belgium is still legal when it reaches the US as polished.

The bipartisan group led by Democrat Gerry Connolly and Republican Austin Scott wrote to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen on Monday, urging the Biden administration to “examine loopholes” in the sanctions regime. This includes the crucial interpretation of “origin,” they noted.

The group called on the US to work with India and Dubai to ensure the Russian miner’s diamonds “are not being used to line the pockets of those closest to [President] Vladimir Putin,” according to the letter, which Connolly published on his official website. They also asked the State and Treasury Departments to provide guidance to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to ensure they keep Russian diamonds out of the US.

“We are concerned that the two tranches of sanctions issued by the Treasury Department to target Russia’s diamond industry will have a minimal impact on Alrosa and [CEO] Sergey Ivanov’s ability to freely operate on the world market,” they wrote.

Image: Rough diamonds. (Alrosa)
Tags: Alrosa, Antony Blinken, Belgium, CBP, congress, Customs and Border Protection, Department of Homeland Security, DHS, Dubai, Gerry Connolly, India, Janet Yellen, Joe Biden, Rapaport News, Russia, sanctions, Treasury Department, US, Vladimir Putin
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