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Police Arrest Diamantaire in Connection With Diamond Fraud Unit Commissioner

Mar 25, 2015 8:07 AM   By Deena Taylor
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RAPAPORT... Antwerp police arrested a 57-year-old diamantaire on suspicion of diamond fraud in connection with the investigation of a federal police commissioner suspected of money laundering, according to the Public Prosecutor's Office of Antwerp.

The commissioner, Agim De Bruycker, who was detained on March 20, was responsible for investigations into diamond industry fraud and he headed the Diamond Squad. He was arrested after authorities allegedly found $549,542 (EUR 500,000) worth of diamonds and gold on his property and $54,954 (EUR 50,000) in cash. Bruycker, 46, allegedly declined to clarify how he had obtained the diamonds and gold.

Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws reported that the federal anti-money laundering unit became suspicious of the commissioner after he allegedly purchased an expensive villa south of Mechelen and a new luxury Range Rover shortly after a  divorce. 

While the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) declined to comment on the specifics of both arrests, they issued the following statement:

"The Antwerp World Diamond Centre hopes that the judicial investigation into police commissioner D. and the potential involvement of a diamond trader are quickly clarified.
"While the Antwerp World Diamond Centre is not directly involved and has no control over the operations and transactions of individual diamond traders, as an industry organization and in the general interest of the industry as a whole, we hope to quickly obtain insight into the role of the diamond trader in this case."

According to reports from the Belgian press, Bruycker allegedly claimed that he kept diamonds that belonged to the arrested diamond dealer at his home in an effort to conceal them from tax authorities.

Belgian press also alleged that there have been numerous irregularities in Bruycker's department and that  Brussels authorities recently reopened a diamond fraud case dating back to 2004 that involved two Antwerp firms that had been  cleared of any wrong-doing. 

But following the original investigation, one of two firms filed  a complaint and alleged that  diamonds seized in 2004 had been replaced with lower-value goods. At the time, authorities insisted that the allegation was simply not feasible; however, the company contended that the diamonds Bruycker's department returned to them were at least four times less valuable than the seized goods. 

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May 10, 2015 2:07PM    By Hans Hansen
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