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23 Oct 2023

Russian diamonds allegedly still sold to Western cos through intermediaries in third countries despite sanctions, new investigation shows; incl. cos. responses and non-responses

An investigation by the Kyiv Independent found that despite US sanctions, Russia’s primary diamond producer, Alrosa, not only keeps selling diamonds to the West using intermediaries in third countries but also boosted its sales in 2023.

The investigation suggests that because of the weak American sanctions and the absence of any in the European Union, Alrosa continues to profit from diamond sales and that the company may be using some of its profit to fund the Russian military directly.

The authors claim that Russian diamond exports dipped in late 2022 but quickly recovered to pre-invasion levels as Russia found new routes for exporting the precious stones. For instance, the UAE imports have grown 2.5 times, replacing the EU as the number one importer of Russian rough diamonds.

According to the article, Western luxury companies cannot guarantee that they are not selling Russian diamonds, despite making a pledge not to. While they do not buy rough diamonds straight from Alrosa, Russian diamonds may be introduced into “mixed origin” parcels in Dubai.

Meanwhile, the G7 is trying to impose restrictions on Russian diamonds sales, but all efforts have come up against an intense lobbying campaign led by the world's biggest diamond companies.

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited the companies mentioned in the article (and who had not commented in the article) to respond to the allegations. De Beers responded. Cartier, Kiran Gems and Shree Ramkrishna Exports did not.

De Beers' response can be found below.

Company Responses

De Beers plc View Response
Cartier (part of Richemont)

No Response

Kiran Gems

No Response

Shree Ramkrishna Exports (SMK)

No Response