Diamonds are not a Swiss bank’s best friend, or at least HSBC’s, as the bank is in hot water in Europe for allegedly giving preferential treatment to some account holders, allowing for tax dodges and other shenanigans, and the diamond industry is being targeted with investigations, according to the NewEra.com
Since Belgian authorities charged HSBC with fraud and money laundering over its dealings with certain diamond dealers, Russian-Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev, Maurice Tempelsman and his company Lazare Kaplan International might be implicated. However, these allegations have been denied. Christian Merkling, the attorney for Lazare Kaplan International (LKI) and for American Maurice Tempelsman told NewEra, “Even the most perfunctory investigation would have revealed neither LKI or any of its subsidiaries (and Maurice Tempelsman, for that matter) are on the list of holders for such accounts because no such accounts were held by them.”
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It has been revealed that some of LKI’s Namibian associates in the diamond business were apparently allowed to stash away assets by HSBC. Lev Leviev is being investigated because he had a diamond mine in Namibia, which he closed in 2012 when an acquisition with DeBeers flopped. Merkling said Templesman and LKI, to the extent they may have business connections with those who ran afoul of the law, are victims and knew nothing of criminal activities. Merkling said, “Implicating a victim of a crime in the crime itself is an egregious, defamatory error that demands public correction.”