September 29, 2020
Russian mining group Alrosa is now sure. The amount missing from the accounts of its Catoca diamond mine is not $10m but $42m. Former executive Rodrigo Khouri Duarte seems to have played a key role in the operation.
Bruce Marks, the American lawyer known for his expertise in cases involving the international operations of Russian conglomerates, asked a New York Southern District court on 28 August to order a number of individuals and companies to release documents for the benefit of his client, Russian diamond producer Alrosa. He asked, in particular, for disclosure of all documents containing information about the bank accounts and financial activities of Brazilian national Rodrigo Khouri Duarte, a former executive in Alrosa’s supply chain division, and a company called SDBCI Importacao Exportaçao de Maquinas Industriais, with which he appeared to have links. The lawyer also called for comparable documents concerning the operations of Cyprus-based company AZK Engineering.
Alrosa has been looking since April 2019 for proof that funds were misappropriated from the accounts of its Catoca diamond mine (Africa Intelligence, 24/03/20), Angola’s biggest, with 7.5 million carats produced each year. Angola indicated initially that $10m had been misappropriated by the former head of the joint venture operating the mine, Sergey Amelin, but now suspects that other people were involved and that the amount missing is much greater. Its investigations indicate that $42.39m were illegally transferred from Catoca’s Angolan bank accounts and that $25m went into accounts held by Khouri Duarte, SDBCI and AZK. To prove this, so as to be able to start legal action against those responsible, Alrosa intends to use the document discovery procedure available under American law.