All right, I’ll openly admit that this story has me about as hot as a 1000 story inferno that is burning out of control. So hot in fact, that I don’t even know where to begin, but perhaps I should start at the beginning. Is there a beginning? If there is a reasonable beginning to this story, then from my perspective it begins in early November, when Hong Kong billionaire and “fugitive from justice” Joseph Lau purchased two extremely expensive fancy colored diamonds at auction. Reportedly a spokesperson told CNN that the diamonds were gifts for Lau’s seven year old daughter, and here we go!
On November 10th, the guy buys a 16.08 carat, fancy pink colored diamond from Christie’s at auction for $28.5 million, and promptly renames it “Sweet Josephine” after his seven year old daughter. And then the very next day, he buys the 12.03 carat, Blue Moon Diamond from Sotheby’s for $48.5 million, which is the highest price ever paid at auction for a diamond, and then renames it the Blue Moon of Josephine. Gag me, twice.
Here’s what I don’t get. The guy is reportedly a known fugitive of the law, and he’s wandering about spending upwards of $77 million on diamonds which are extremely rare, and very high profile, and yet neither auction house, nor the authorities seem to be doing anything about it. In an era when anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism enforcement is supposed to be at an all time high, it seems to me that somebody was asleep at the wheel when all this went down.
And at an age when “Sweet Josephine” should be playing with My Little Pony’s and Barbie Dolls, it seems like she’s dripping in diamonds beyond what even I am capable of imagining… But what really gets me, is what are these diamonds supposed to represent to a seven year old? Are they supposed to be some form of compensation for his missing presence in her life, or is Josephine on the run with her fugitive father? And what kind of “dad” seriously buys 77 million dollars worth of diamonds for a child? It’s a front and it sickens me that this child is being used as “cover” for this crook’s reckless expenditure, flying in the face of those of us who take anti-money laundering efforts seriously.
At High Performance Diamonds, we have extremely high conditions with regards to knowing our customers, especially with regards to our efforts against anti-money-laundering. And we should, as both American and Belgian regulation in this regard are very strict, and neither HPD or CBI (who would be indirectly involved) want anything to do with money-laundering. If Mister Lau would show up at HPD’s door to buy a CBI-diamond, we would politely decline his business and his dirty millions. It is a disgrace to see Christie’s and Sotheby’s raking in millions of dubious origin, and bragging about it.
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