Botswana’s government is reevaluating a proposed deal with HB Antwerp following Lucara Diamond’s termination of its sales agreement with the Belgian gem trader, citing financial irregularities, President Mokgweetsi Masisi announced on Thursday.

Lucara Diamond announced the termination of its agreement with HB Trading BV, a subsidiary of HB Antwerp, due to what it described as «a significant breach of financial commitments by HB.» HB Antwerp has not yet responded to requests for comment on the matter.

In March, Botswana, the world’s top diamond producer by value, unveiled plans to acquire a 24% stake in HB Antwerp and to supply an undisclosed quantity of rough diamonds for five years through the state-owned Okavango Diamond Company.

During a press briefing following Lucara’s termination of its agreement with HB, President Masisi clarified that Botswana had only reached «an agreement in principle» with the Belgian firm and had not signed an official deal. The government is currently assessing the situation.

«We have learned that the deal between Lucara and HB has fallen through due to financial issues, as reported. It is now up to us to determine the course of action we will take,» Masisi stated.

Earlier this month, HB Antwerp, a diamond processor and trader, removed one of its three co-founders, Oded Mansori, from its management team due to disagreements over strategy. Mansori, a co-founder of HB Antwerp in 2020 along with partners Shai de Toledo and Rafael Papismedov, has initiated legal proceedings against his removal.

Despite the termination of the contract, Lucara intends to continue selling its diamonds through various channels, including its Clara diamond platform, traditional tenders, and other routes.

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