Friday, December 3, 2021

Botswana Stock Exchange caught in De Beers, Anglo American deal

Anglo American and De Beers are being accused of violating Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) regulations in a controversy that may scuttle their US$ 5.1 billion deal.

De Beers recently moved swiftly to conceal offending information about their funding of the Israeli military during the assault on Gaza (operation Cast Lead) in the winter of 2008/2009.
The move by De Beers has been slammed as offending Transparency Rules of the Financial Services Authority, the Listings Requirements of the securities exchange of the JSE Limited in South Africa, the SWX Swiss Exchange, the Botswana Stock Exchange and the Namibian Stock Exchange. Under the rules, Anglo American is obliged to carry out due diligence and make all relevant information available to shareholders and regulatory authorities.

Anglo American is listed on The Botswana Stock Exchange, while De Beers bond programme has been approved by the Botswana Stock Exchange although it has not been listed. With a $5.1 billion deal at stake and human rights activists increasing pressure on De Beers to remove the Forevermark Steinmetz Jubilee Diamond from the Tower of London, the Steinmetz Foundation recently scrubbed from their website all reference to their funding and support for the Israeli military during the assault on Gaza (Operation Cast Lead) in the winter of 2008/2009. London-based mining giant, Anglo American, recently received final regulatory approval to purchase the Oppenheimer family’s 40 percent stake in the De Beers Group.

According to Charles Stanley, US president of Forevermark – De Beers’ exclusive diamond brand ÔÇô Forevermark diamonds account for “the vast majority of value if not volume” of De Beers’ business.

Mr. Stanley, speaking in June at a conference in Las Vegas, also indicated that consumer trust in the ethical provenance of De Beers’ diamonds was of critical importance to their business.

The Steinmetz Company manufactures Forevermark diamonds. The Steinmetz Foundation “adopted” a Unit of the notorious Givati Brigade of the Israeli military which it funded and supported during Cast Lead. The Givati Brigade was directly responsible for the massacre of 21 members of the Samouni family in one of the most despicable examples of gross human rights violations documented by human rights organisations and the UN Human Rights Council during the Israeli attack on Gaza.

A UN Human Rights Council investigation into the Israeli assault which killed over 1,400 people, including more than 300 children, concluded that the Israeli military committed serious war crimes and possible crimes against humanity.

Last Sunday, for the fifth successive weekend since De Beers put the Forevermark Steinmetz diamond on display in the Tower of London to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, human rights activists in London staged a demonstration to highlight the linkage between the diamond and Israeli war crimes in Gaza. Demonstrations have been held every weekend either at the Tower of London or outside De Beers’ jewellery shop on the corner of Piccadilly and Bond Street.

The surviving members of the Samouni family in Gaza have issued a video appeal calling on the Queen to remove the “offensive blood diamond”.

Given the discretionary nature of a diamond purchase and the public’s revulsion of blood diamonds, neither De Beers nor Anglo American can afford any loss of consumer confidence in the ethical provenance of Forevermark diamonds. Anglo American’s Investor Presentation relating to the proposed purchase of the Oppenheimer family’s shares in De Beers did not mention the linkage between Forevermark diamonds and Israeli war crimes. Anglo American produced a fact sheet on De Beers which claims “all De Beers’ diamonds are conflict free” – a false and misleading statement considering that Forevermark Steinmetz diamonds fund the Israeli military, which stands accused of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity.

Anglo American shareholders apparently were not informed of the serious threat to the Forevermark brand and De Beers business prior to their agreeing to spend $5.1 billion to acquire the additional 40 percent stake in De Beers. According to various rules and regulations (the City Code on Takeovers and Mergers (the “Takeover Code”), the UK Listing Rules, the Disclosure and Transparency Rules of the Financial Services Authority, the Listings Requirements of the securities exchange of the JSE Limited in South Africa, the SWX Swiss Exchange, the Botswana Stock Exchange and the Namibian Stock Exchange) Anglo American is obliged to carry out due diligence and make all relevant information available to shareholders and regulatory authorities.

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