Thursday, 07 July 2016
The Antwerp diamond sector, with which the special parliamentary commission for the Panama Papers, was wanting a hearing next Tuesday, will now reconvene after the summer holidays. Ahmed Laaouej (of the Socialists), the President of the parliamentary commission, indicated this yesterday (Wednesday).
He called a meeting of the Antwerp World Diamond Center (AWDC) after the names of 65 Antwerp diamond dealers, materialized in the Panama Papers. However, the federation balked in response to the request, in particular regretting that it was “the only professional organization to be solicited in this way.”
In a letter sent to the special commission which the magazine Le Vif has had sight of, the AWDC in particular confirms having “no view or knowledge of how the diamond merchants organise their business, both from a legal and tax point of view.”
“We understand that the AWDC was invited based upon a number of press articles on the subject. As other professional categories were also quoted in these articles, we reckon that these organisations have also been invited,” added the federation for whom. It added that, “It seemed appropriate not to take part in the meeting if the AWDC was the only organisation asked.”
It now transpires that the federation will meet in September. The parliamentary commission has guaranteed that it will not be the only organisation to be heard. The Antwerp lawyers, ISI, have also been summoned.
The July 12th meeting, the last before the summer recess, will take place in camera and should hopefully make it possible to make an initial assessment of the commission’s work. Its President has indicated this.