They Hoped Diamonds Were Forever – but Things Didn’t Quite Work Out That Way for a Group of Bankers Convicted of a $173M Fraud

The Chatila jewellery emporium in Geneva is known by the world’s super-rich cognoscenti for being one of the select few destinations for the world’s finest diamonds. While its Bond Street store in London attracts a celebrity crowd, its flagship in Geneva pulls in the more discreet financier types. Its vaults boast one of the world’s very few red diamonds, and the historic 61.37 carat deep red ruby, The Burmese Excellence.

With such an inevitably wealthy clientele, it was not entirely out of the ordinary when, one October day in 2011, a well-set gentleman walked in and bought a 10-carat diamond ring for $1.7m (£1m). He faxed a payment instruction to his Swiss private bank Bordier, agreeing to collect the piece later that week. When he returned a couple of days later, it was with his attractive Latvian wife, and not only did they pick up the ring, but they bought two more, this time with pink and yellow diamonds, costing $2m.

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