DDE’s Peter Meeus Hits Back at PAC Claims

Peter_MeeusDubai: Dubai Diamond Exchange Chairman Peter Meeus replied to what he called “serious allegations” made by Partnership Africa Canada about Dubai at the Kimberley Process (KP) Intersessional meeting taking place in Shanghai.

“First of all we were surprised to see that Mr. Martin quoted an FAFT (Financial Action Task Force) report on ML/TF (Money Laundering/Terrorism Financing) of 150 pages in which Dubai is mentioned only once and about half a page. Nowhere is any reference made to any terrorism financing or similar crimes. Further the info is outdated and not properly substantiated.

“Secondly, the assumption that our FTZ (Free Trade Zone) is like a little Cayman Island on UAE-territory is also wrong. The FTZ is an integral part of the country and falls under the same customs regime.

“Thirdly, we regret to hear UAE or Dubai … robbed hundreds of millions [of dollars] from African countries, more specifically Zimbabwe. I believe we have proven by and large that, similar to what is done by the AWDC, we have worked closely together with Zimbabwe through tenders in the Dubai Diamond Exchange to do exactly the contrary of what PAC claims. By doing so, we try to maximize the profits for Africa. In our tender, prices actually went up by 20 percent compared to the former.

“The last and final remark is that the KP is the KP and has a clear mandate and that is to fight conflict diamonds. The KP is not about value but about carats. That is not our decision, that’s the decision of all KP participants and we abide by that. So we are happy to discuss [this] with PAC, but also with the African producers and with countries like Switzerland and Belgium, which also have a large distribution business to discuss the issue of transfer pricing but not in this forum because it basically falls out of the KP’s core mandate.

“The U.A.E. has been a loyal, faithful and committed supporter of the KPCS. If we have the chance and good fortune of being elected as Vice Chair in November, we will take the opportunity of opening all our doors and demonstrating the utmost compliance and transparency which this morning was regrettably questioned,” Meeus concluded.