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Meeus Addresses PAC's Allegations Against Dubai

Jun 10, 2014 8:58 AM   By Peter Meeus
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Press Release: Peter Meeus, the chairman of the board of the Dubai Diamond Exchange (DDE), issued the following transcript in response to the Partnership Africa Canada (PAC) address at the Kimberley Process (KP) intercessional meeting in Shanghai.

KP chairman Wei Chaunzhong, ladies and gentlemen,

Thank you for allowing us a short follow-up on the serious allegations made by PAC against the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

First of all, we were surprised to see that Mr. (Alan) Martin quoted the  Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the Egmont Group report on money laundering and terrorism financing of 150 pages in which Dubai is mentioned only once and about half a page. Nowhere any reference is made to  terrorism financing or similar crimes. Further, the info is outdated and not properly substantiated.

Secondly, the assumption that our free trade zone (FTZ) is like little Cayman Island on UAE territory is also wrong. The FTZ is an integral part of the country and falls under the same customs regime.

Thirdly, we regret to hear UAE or Dubai would have robbed hundreds of millions of dollars from African countries, more specifically Zimbabwe. I believe we have proven by and large that -- similarly as what is done by the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) -- we have worked closely together with Zimbabwe through tenders in the Dubai Diamond Exchange to do exactly the contrary of what PAC claims. By doing so, we try to maximize the profits for Africa. In our tender, prices actually went up by 20 percent compared to the former.

Lastly, the KP is the KP and has a clear mandate and that is to fight conflict diamonds. The KP is not about value but about carats. That is not our decision; that’s the decision of all KP participants and we abide by that. So, we are happy to discuss with PAC, but also with the African producers and with countries like Switzerland and Belgium, which also have a large distribution business to discuss the issue of transfer pricing but not in this forum because it basically falls out of the KP core mandate.

The UAE has been a loyal, faithful and committed supporter of the KP. If we have the chance and good fortune of being elected as vice chair in November, we will take the opportunity of opening all our doors and demonstrating the utmost compliance and transparency, which this morning was regrettably questioned.

Thank you for your attention.

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Tags: diamonds, Dubai, exchange, Kimberley Process, Money Laundering, Peter Meeus, tax, terrorism, uae
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