|The following statement was issued today by the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC).
AWDC condemns campaigning on the back of the Antwerp diamond industry.
As one of the economic pillars of the Flemish economy, the Antwerp World Diamond Centre implores politicians to not campaign on the back of the industry. Only last year, the Antwerp diamond industry represented an annual turnover of Ä52 billion and no less than 32.600 direct and indirect jobs.
The AWDC states that the comments made by SP.A politician John Crombez in the Flemish VTM News bulletin this afternoon are unacceptable. "Because of the ongoing internal electoral campaign within the socialist party, John Crombez, Member of the Flemish Parliament, lashed out to an entire industry in a highly unwarranted manner", Ari Epstein, CEO of the Antwerp World Diamond Centre said.
"However, considering his previous mandate, Mister Crombez is well aware of the very strict controls and procedures that apply in our industry. Suggesting that being a client of an international financial institution equals having committed fraud simply is unworthy of his position.
As representative organization of the Antwerp diamond industry, we have always been prepared to engage in dialogue with all parties involved in this regard and we hope we can continue that dialogue in serenity," Ari Epstein added.