Aging Antwerp needs polishers, offering free training

Antwerp's diamond polishers are aging and in order to recruit new talent, the the local diamond industry is offering free education under its 'Antwerp Diamond Masterplan – Project 2020’ reports Idex Online.

"The Antwerp World Diamond Centre estimates that over the next two years, there will be 55 job openings," reports the diamond industry website.

Approximately 80% of the total world production of rough diamonds is traded by the 185 gem companies operating in Antwerp (pictured) and 50% of the globe's polished diamonds pass through the Flemish town.

Last year authorities in Belgium were investigating a case that may still turn out to be the country's largest ever fraud after names from a list of 170 of Antwerp diamond traders where published in the local press claiming they are being investigated for spiriting almost $1 billion (€700 million) in unpaid taxes into secret Geneva bank accounts.

The Antwerp traders are among a much larger roster of at least 24,000 HSBC Private Bank clients from Canada, India and Germany under investigation by French authorities since 2009 over tax evasion.

In May Spain's National Court dropped its investigation into Banco Santander chairman Emilio Botin and 11 of his relatives who were also on the list of alleged tax evaders.

"The family said it had already paid around €200 million ($255 million) in back taxes to "normalize" the situation," according to an AP report.