A week after the $US50 million diamond heist at Brussels Airport, the crime remains unsolved but the international jewellery industry is united in its belief that it was “an inside job”.
On February 18 eight masked gunmen dressed as police officers and armed with “AK-47-type” guns drove two black cars with flashing blue lights onto the tarmac and stole around US$50 million of diamonds from a Helvetic Airways jet bound for Zurich.
According to the Brussels’ Prosecutor’s Office, no guns were fired in the robbery which took less than 20 minutes.
Immediately after the heist Caroline De Wolf, the spokeswoman for the Antwerp World Diamond Centre, told the press that the Antwerp diamond community was shocked by the “brutal” heist.
“We find it hard to understand how such a robbery could take place,” she said, explaining that there was normally “a gap of only a few minutes” between the loading of such a valuable cargo and the moment the plane started to move.
“We choose to transport goods via airplane, precisely because of the safe and controlled nature of this means of transportation.
“The people who did this knew there was going to be this gap and when.”
De Wolf’s suspicions of an inside job were echoed around the world by various security experts – inside and outside the jewellery industry – as investigations got underway to solve the crime.
Meanwhile the European Union has released the Kimberley Process certificate numbers for parcels of rough diamonds stolen during the heist
The EU and the World Diamond Council are urging members of the trade who may be offered diamonds carrying the associated KP certificate numbers to immediately contact the authorities in their countries and report the possibility of stolen merchandise being located in their jurisdiction.