De Beers Settles Class Action Lawsuit Alleging Price Fixing

De Beers Settles Class Action Lawsuit Alleging Price Fixing
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De Beers, the world's largest diamond importer, settled a class action lawsuit Monday worth $297 million, which would be divided roughly in half between consumers and 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.

The case is being heard in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. The next hearing in the case is set for April 14, 2008.

Diamond buyers have until May 19, 2008 to file a claim.