(Rapaport…November 15, 2001) The Diamond High Council (HRD) claims that there is a lack of hard evidence for the accusations in a November 2 Washington Post article that claims people with ties to the al-Qaida terrorist network sold illicit diamonds from Sierra Leone to Belgium and other European markets through a safe house in Liberia. HRD said it has provided information to the Beligan Public Prosecutor and that an inquest into the matter has begun.
HRD said that Aziz Nassur and Sammy Ossailly — two men accused in a Washington Post article of buying smuggled Sierra Leone diamonds through an al-Qaida middleman — are not members of an Antwerp diamond bourse and did not take part in any diamond transactions in Belgium over the past three years. HRD acknowledges that Nassur was active years ago in the diamond sector via a partnership in Echo Gems, but not within the past three years, the time period delineated in the Post article. HRD claims Ossailly has no link to an existing Belgian diamond company.