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    Omega Diamonds: the whistle blower appeals against the plea deal

    David Renous has appealed against the plea deal of 160 million euros agreed between the Antwerp Prosecutor’s Office, the Special Tax Inspection Office and the ten suspects in the case. His revelations were what started the judicial inquiry into the operations of Antwerp diamond company Omega Diamonds. This information was released by Renous’ lawyer on Monday. The Grand Jury confirmed the plea deal in December, after the former employee appealed against the decision by the Council chamber. Omega Diamonds imported diamonds from the Congo and Angola between 2003 and 2008, for the sum of 2,28 billion euros. The precious stones went through companies in Geneva and Dubai, where false bills and false certificates were made to financially benefit the company. A former collaborator, David Renous, blew the whistle on the fraud.

    When the inquest started, the Prosecutor’s Office offered a plea deal to the ten suspects, which was approved by the Council chamber. David Renous’ civil lawsuit was rejected.

    On Monday, his lawyer said the appeal would bring to light “things that would not be known otherwise, like the fact that Renous was not questioned as a victim at the start”. The lawyer also said that the plea deal had already been struck when his client launched a civil lawsuit. “He was therefore unable to closely examine the files”, he added.

    At the same time the case was concluded “amicably” with the plea deal, a trial at the Antwerp Correctional court started. Customs and Excise went up against ten defendants. These were the founders of Omega Diamonds, and experts and managers from the companies in Dubai and Geneva. Customs and Excise wanted 4,6 billion euros from them. The defense argued in December that fraud cannot be the object of lawsuits, and referred to the plea deal with the Special Tax Inspection Office and the Prosecutor’s Office.

    Jason Bennett (Source:Belga)