A federal court judge has given final approval to the settlement of a class action lawsuit against De Beers, the world's largest diamond importer, that would pay out roughly $297 million to consumers, diamond merchants and resellers.
The lawsuit charged that De Beers and its subsidiaries violated antitrust, unfair competition and consumer-protection laws by monopolizing diamond supplies, and conspired to control the diamond prices by fixing and raising them as per their discretion.
The South African company, which controls 40 percent of the world's diamond trade, was also charged with false advertising.
Under the settlement, De Beers would pay $22.5 million to the "direct purchaser class members and $272.5 million to "indirect purchaser class members."
Consumers who purchased diamonds from De Beers directly or indirectly between 1994 and 2006 will be eligible to receive a rebate. The rebate amount will be determined based on the quality of the diamond.
De Beers said it had done nothing wrong. In a statement, the company said: We believe that settling these class actions has allowed us to put these matters behind us, and is in the best interests of our shareholders, our clients and, most importantly, consumers confidence in diamonds."
More information is available at www.DiamondsClassAction.com.