The Times of India (TOI)
January 30, 2014 Thursday

Attack on diamantaire in Dubai stuns industry

Melvyn Reggie Thomas

SURAT: A few days ago, a sales executive of a leading Indian diamond
company was murdered by some Armenian gang members in Dubai's Naif
area. The news has sent shock waves among Indian diamantaires in
Mumbai and Surat, especially those having their operations in Dubai.
This is because they had thought Dubai to be safer in comparison to
Antwerp, which had witnessed a series of diamond heists of late.

Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) sources said the
incident occurred on Saturday at a gold souq (open air market place
for trading) in Dubai's Naif area.

The sales executive was employed with Colour Source diamond company,
which is owned by Vaibhav Solanki. He was found dead in the toilet of
the gold souq last week. The executive was residing in Dubai with his
pregnant wife. The victim was throttled by the Armenian gang members.
He was engaged in a business deal with two foreign clients and
diamonds worth over Rs 8 crore have gone missing, sources said.

Pankaj Parekh, vice-chairman, GJEPC, told TOI, "It seems the trouble
from Antwerp has now moved over to Dubai. We have witnessed many
crimes against Indian diamantaires in Antwerp, including two big
diamond heists targeting DTC sightholder companies in Antwerp in 2010
and 2012, respectively. Now, the mafias have set their eyes on Dubai."

In two separate diamond heists reported in Belgium in 2010 and 2012
respectively, two DTC sightholder companies - Kiran Gems and KARP
Impex - were targeted and the gang members escaped with diamonds worth
crores of rupees.

Dubai's proximity to markets and producers, its logistics
infrastructure, and a low tax and light regulation regime has made it
an attractive location since 2002 for the diamond industry.

Almost all the big diamond companies in India, including in Mumbai and
Surat, have set up offices at the free zone in Jumeirah Lake Towers
run by the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC).

Last year, Dubai traded more than $40 billion worth of diamonds,
reflecting the emirate's growing stature in the global market. Dubai's
development as a global transport and logistics hub has also
facilitated its position as a gateway to the Gulf Cooperation Council
(GCC) consumer market and it benefits from its proximity to India, the
world's biggest diamond cutting and polishing centre. It is also well
positioned for Africa where much of the world's diamond mining takes

Ramesh Vora, co-ordinator of GJEPC, told TOI, "It is definitely
shocking news for the diamond community in India. Dubai's CID has
arrested one Armenian suspect and two others would be arrested soon
for the murder of the Maharashtrian sales executive. We have not
revealed the identity of the sales executive on the request of his
family members."