Belgian Bank Reportedly Seizes Assets from Exelco

Antwerp–Belgian bank KBC Group NV seized assets from a well-known diamond company late last month in an effort to recover millions in unpaid loans, Bloomberg reported Monday.

Citing court papers, the news outlet reported that KBC had bailiffs search Exelco NV’s Antwerp offices and seized some goods, though the amount of goods taken were insufficient to cover the reported $29 million KBC is seeking to recover from the company.

In addition, KBC searched the De Beers Auction Sales offices in Antwerp but did not find any Exelco goods there, as the company is no longer a DBAS customer. Exelco also had its sightholder status revoked in April, a De Beers spokesperson confirmed Thursday.

KBC, once a main provider of financing to the diamond industry through the now-defunct Antwerp Diamond Bank, has been winding down the bank since late 2014 after failing to find a buyer.

The company did not respond to request for comment on the Bloomberg report or where it is with the wind-down of ADB.

Exelco was founded in 1993 by Leon and Lior Kunstler and master diamond cutter Jean-Paul Tolkowsky, a member of a family that has a long history in the diamond industry. Marcel Tolkowsky is credited with inventing the ideal-cut diamond, and Jean-Paul and his father, Gabi, have cut some of the most famous stones in the world, including the 274-carat Centenary, the world’s largest D flawless diamond, and the 546-carat Golden Jubilee, the world’s largest faceted diamond.

Exelco did not respond to requests for comment sent to two separate email addresses. A woman who answered the phone at the company’s Antwerp offices on Thursday morning said nobody was available to speak to the media.

Despite the fact that the Bloomberg story published on Monday cites the Exelco website as a source of information, the website that’s widely listed for the company, ExelcoDiamond.com, came up as “Currently under construction” on Wednesday afternoon, save for the news page.

The company, however, is still in the De Beers sightholder directory, which has it listed as having nine offices, two factories and 380 employees.

Its subsidiaries include FTK Worldwide Manufacturing BVBA in Belgium, Ideal Diamond Trading USA Inc., Lior Diamonds Ltd., 21st Century Diamond LLC and H&A Cutting Works Ltd., which was the company that sold its cutting and polishing factory in Gaborone, Botswana, to Signet Jewelers back in 2013.

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