EU court upholds asset freeze of Badica & Kardiam companies over alleged trade of conflict diamonds & supporting armed groups in Central African Republic

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20 July 2017

EU Court Upholds Asset Freeze on Central African Diamond Traders

Author: Elizabeth Miles, Reuters

An EU court on Thursday upheld the bloc's freeze on the funds of two companies charged with trafficking in conflict diamonds and supporting armed groups in the Central African Republic.

In 2015, the European Union decided to block the European assets of Badica, a large diamond trading firm in the Central African Republic, and its Belgian unit Kardiam.

The companies argued that the freeze was not warranted saying it was not sufficiently proven that they had supported armed groups by trading natural resources. The court rejected this view...

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20 July 2017

The General Court upholds the decision freezing the funds of the Badica and Kardiam companies in the Central African ‘conflict diamonds’ case

Author: General Court of the European Union

The Bureau d'achat de Diamant en Centrafrique (Badica) and its Belgian sister company Kardiam purchase and sell diamonds originating, inter alia, from the Central African Republic...

To prevent ‘conflict diamonds’ fuelling armed conflict by generating income for rival groups, an international certification scheme for rough diamonds, named the Kimberley Process, was set up. In May 2013, the Central African Republic was temporarily suspended from the Kimberley Process certification scheme. Exports of Central African diamonds were prohibited as a result of that suspension.

... [T]he European Union decided in 2015 to freeze the funds of Badica and Kardiam in Europe...[because] the Bureau d'achat de Diamant en Centrafrique/KARDIAM was listed as one of the persons or entities “providing support for armed groups or criminal networks through the illicit exploitation or trade of natural resources (diamonds, gold, as well as wildlife and wildlife products) in the Central African Republic”.’...

Badica and Kardiam have asked the General Court to annul the decision freezing their funds. They submit that the Council’s assertions in the grounds communicated to them are inaccurate or, in any event, insufficiently substantiated to establish that they provided support to armed groups through the unlawful exploitation of or trade in natural resources in the Central African Republic.
By today’s judgment, the Court dismisses the action of the two companies and upholds the decision freezing their funds...

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