Alleged war crimes links could hurt De Beers' $5.1 billion share deal
Anglo American failed to inform investors and regulators about De Beers' alleged Forevermark diamonds funding of Israeli war crimes prior to getting their approval to purchase Oppenheimer Family's 40% stake in De Beers for $5.1 billion.
Steinmetz moves to conceal facts that could scupper $5.1 billion De Beers’ deal
With a $5.1 billion deal at stake and human rights activists increasing pressure on De Beers to remove the Forevermark Steinmetz Jubilee Diamond from the Tower of London, the Steinmetz Foundation recently scrubbed from their website all reference to their funding and support for the Israeli military during the assault on Gaza (Operation Cast Lead) in the winter of 2008/2009.
London-based mining giant Anglo American recently received final regulatory approval to purchase the Oppenheimer family's 40 percent stake in the De Beers
Group. According to Charles Stanley, US president of Forevermark - De Beers’ exclusive diamond brand – Forevermark diamonds account for “the vast majority of value if not volume” of De Beers’ business. Mr. Stanley, speaking in June at a conference in Las Vegas, also indicated that consumer trust in the ethical provenance of De Beers’ diamonds was of critical importance to their business.
The Steinmetz Company manufactures Forevermark diamonds. The Steinmetz Foundation “adopted” a Unit of the notorious Givati Brigade of the Israeli military which it funded and supported during Cast Lead. The Givati Brigade was directly responsible for the massacre of 21 members of the Samouni family in one of the most despicable examples of gross human rights violations documented by human rights organisations and the UN Human Rights Council during the Israeli attack on Gaza.
A UN Human Rights Council investigation into the Israeli assault which killed over 1,400 people, including more than 300 children, concluded that the Israeli military committed serious war crimes and possible crimes against humanity.
Last Sunday, for the fifth successive weekend since De Beers put the Forevermark Steinmetz diamond on display in the Tower of London to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, human rights activists in London staged a demonstration to highlight the linkage between the diamond and Israeli war crimes in Gaza. Demonstrations have been held every weekend either at the Tower of London or outside De Beers’ jewellery shop on the corner of Piccadilly and Bond Street.
The surviving members of the Samouni family in Gaza have issued a video appeal calling on the Queen to remove the “offensive blood diamond”.
Given the discretionary nature of a diamond purchase and the public’s revulsion of blood diamonds, neither De Beers nor Anglo American can afford any loss of consumer confidence in the ethical provenance of Forevermark diamonds. Anglo American’s Investor Presentation relating to the proposed purchase of the Oppenheimer family’s shares in De Beers did not mention the linkage between Forevermark diamonds and Israeli war crimes. Anglo American produced a fact sheet on De Beers which claims “all De Beers’ diamonds are conflict free” - a false and misleading statement considering that Forevermark Steinmetz diamonds fund the Israeli military which stands accused of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity.
Anglo American shareholders apparently were not informed of the serious threat to the Forevermark brand and De Beers business prior to their agreeing to spend $5.1 billion to acquire the additional 40% stake in De Beers. According to various rules and regulations (the City Code on Takeovers and Mergers (the “Takeover Code”), the UK Listing Rules, the Disclosure and Transparency Rules of the Financial Services Authority, the Listings Requirements of the securities exchange of the JSE Limited in South Africa, the SWX Swiss Exchange, the Botswana Stock Exchange and the Namibian Stock Exchange) Anglo American is obliged to carry out due diligence and make all relevant information available to shareholders and regulatory authorities.
1. Steinmetz Foundation Website – http://www.steinmetz-foundation.co.il/main.asp?sel_nav1=6&sel_nav2=46&sel_header=Others&cat=site
It now says: “The Foundation donate to the IDF”
It used to say:
“The Foundation has “adopted” Tzabar Unit of the Israeli Defense Forces’ Givati Brigade. The Foundation fosters a close relationship with the commanders and their soldiers, helps the brigade organize evening events, buys equipment for end-of-course ceremonies and gives aid to needy soldiers. During Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip, the Foundation helped the Unit purchase complementary equipment as well as visited and cared for the wounded soldiers.”
2. Inminds website - http://www.inminds.co.uk/article.php?id=10548
The site shows a copy of the Steinmetz Foundation web page before it was scrubbed. (red box added) It also has reports and photos of the demonstrations at the Tower of London and De Beers Jewellery shop.
3. Charles Stanley, Forevermark U.S. President speaking at the Rapaport Fair Trade Diamond Conference in Las Vegas https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAOg8KzyEuo
(Consumers) “…they want to know that our diamond is from a responsible source and that they can trust it.” and “We are a diamond company and that’s all we do. We mine $6 billion worth of diamonds every year and that‘s a high risk profile for any business. We can’t afford to have problems with diamonds. All of you who are selling diamonds as jewellers, we are ultimately a discretionary purchase. We rely on the fact that the consumers truly believe in the diamonds that they buy. If that promise gets unhinged in any way then economic value is eroded very very seriously and clearly as De Beers, that’s a huge risk for us and we can’t afford that to happen. So it’s vital we have to do this (Forevermark Promise) in my view and it is why De Beers have done what they have done”.
In response to a question from Alan Martin, Partnership Africa Canada, about the percentage of trade Forevermark represents for De Beers he said Forevermark represents “the vast majority of value if not volume so clearly going back to the economic issue we are clearly through that process, we continue to grow the credibility of Forevermark we will be protecting the vast majority of our value”.
Full conference video - http://www.diamonds.net/news/NewsItem.aspx?ArticleID=40380
4. International Committee of the Red Cross report – http://www.icrc.org/eng/resources/documents/news-release/palestine-news-080109.htm
The ICRC/PRCS team found four small children next to their dead mothers in one of the houses. They were too weak to stand up on their own. One man was also found alive, too weak to stand up. In all there were at least 12 corpses lying on mattresses. In another house, the ICRC/PRCS rescue team found 15 other survivors of this attack including several wounded. In yet another house, they found an additional three corpses.
5. UN Human Rights Council Report of the Fact-Finding Mission of the Gaza Conflict – http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/12session/A-HRC-12-48.pdf Relevant section pp.159 – 166
6. The Sammoni family’s appeal – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LpUTTGz6U-c
Helmi Sammoni, speaking on behalf of the Sammoni family, issued this appeal to Queen Elizabeth II.
“On behalf of the surviving members of the Sammoni family and the hundreds of other families in Gaza who have been killed by war crimes committed by the Givati Brigade of the Israeli Army, we are shocked and disappointed by the decision of De Beers to present the Queen of England with a diamond manufactured by the Steinmetz Diamond company – a company which supported the Givati Brigade during the Israeli war on Gaza late 2008 as they murdered 29 members of our family in cold blood. We the Sammoni family call on the Queen of England and the British people to decline this gift. We demand that De Beers be instructed to remove this offensive blood diamond display immediately.” (Translated from Arabic)
7. De-Beers Forevermark Press Release
The Steinmetz Forevermark Jubilee Pink Diamond has gone on display at the Tower of London to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. This unique, fancy pink-brown colour, 35.60 carat cushion cut Forevermark diamond has been inscribed with a bespoke number, 19522012 – the year of HRH Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation and the 60th year of her reign. It took the experts at Steinmetz Diamonds six months to perfect the cut, crafting the beautiful cushion cut from the original 179.96 carat rough diamond.
8. Anglo American Investor Presentation
9. Anglo American Fact Sheet on De Beers, November 2011
“All De Beers’ diamonds are certified conflict free and are produced in full compliance with national and international law, the Kimberley Process and De Beers’ Best Practice Principles Assurance Programme.”