Advanced Search

Monstrey Case: Antwerp Investigation May Grow

Oct 11, 2005 4:21 PM   By Marc Goldstein
Email Email Print Print Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Share Share
(Rapaport...October 11, 2005) What seemed at first to be a nasty rumor turned out to be true: The Belgium police raided and closed the Monstrey Worldwide Antwerp office. Monstrey Worldwide is a finance, insurance, transportion and valuables security company.

It has been reported that one of the company's armored trucks was seized at the Brussels airport, and at least four people may have been arrested including Raymond Monstrey. Federal police sealed off the offices of shipping company, known for transporting diamonds, while it is under investigation.

It appears the authorities were concerned about the Monstrey office allegedly helping to export diamonds abroad without passing through the Diamond Office. But as many have said in Antwerp, the "how too use" the Diamond Office channel is not fully understood.

Until about one year ago imports and exports of diamonds were to be handled exclusively through the Diamond Office, but in accordance with the European law, it suddenly became illegal for any national authority to control the free circulation of goods on European soil.

Consequently, a clarification letter was sent by the HRD to all companies confirming that they wouldn’t be obliged to call upon the Diamond Office services for intra-European trade.

There is however a tiny, but important, detail often neglected by exporters who ignore the Diamond Office: They are supposed to inform the office of the transaction. So, technically and according to several diamantaires, the Antwerp shipping agent shouldn’t be charged for illegal operations. That leaves outer-European shipments up for scrunity, but no source is willing to even discuss that point.

By itself Monstrey's legal issue may seem to pass-off as an everyday business issue. Added to a number of legal complaints underway in Antwerp however, and court cases during the past several months, diamantaires now fear the industry's reputation is failing apart in the eyes of Belgian and European authorities.

As if that was not enough, federal police have indicated that documents found during their investigation at Monstrey revealed a number of issues and companies they intend to investigate further in coming weeks. So, whether or not rumors keep flying in Antwerp, clients of Monstrey should prepare for a visit by investigators.
Comment Comment Email Email Print Print Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Share Share
Tags: Belgium, HRD
Similar Articles