Sourcing

De Grisogono Files for Bankruptcy in Switzerland

SourcingJan 29, 2020

De Grisogono Files for Bankruptcy in Switzerland

The luxury jewelry house wasn’t able to secure a buyer despite talks lasting several months.

20191106_EmmanuelTarpin-necklace.jpg
Luxury jewelry brand De Grisogono has filed for bankruptcy by cause of insolvency in Switzerland. Pictured here is a diamond necklace created for the brand by its first artist-in-residence in the fall.

Geneva—De Grisogono, the luxury jewelry house caught up in a corruption investigation in Angola, has filed for bankruptcy in Switzerland.

According to a Jan. 29 company statement provided to National Jeweler, De Grisogono has spent the last several months looking for a buyer but came up empty, forcing the company to file for bankruptcy by cause of insolvency.

“Without financial support from the current shareholders and without a new investor, unfortunately, the company cannot continue as a going concern,” the statement reads.

If its bankruptcy filing is accepted, De Grisogono said all 65 of its employees in Switzerland will be let go.

The statement did not address the future of its stores—De Grisogono has 13 of its own boutiques as well as a presence in 101 retailers across the world, according to its website—or its jewelry inventory.

The news comes just after an investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and 36 media partners was made public alleging De Grisogono was a vital part of a money-laundering scheme that funneled billions of dollars from the Angolan government into the pockets of members of the former first family.

“Luanda Leaks,” as it has been dubbed, laid out allegations that Isabel dos Santos—the billionaire daughter of former Angolan president José Eduardo dos Santos—her husband Sindika Dokolo and their intermediaries built an empire comprised of more than 400 companies and subsidiaries to launder the funds.

This included Dokolo allegedly partnering with Angolan state-owned diamond firm Sodiam to create a Malta-based company that allowed them to buy a stake in De Grisogono and then pump millions in government money into the brand.

Dos Santos and Dokolo have been named as suspects in an investigation into corruption by Angola’s prosecutor, and an Angolan court has frozen her assets.

Both have repeatedly denied their wrongdoing or receiving any profits from their political connections.

According to British newspaper The Guardian, dos Santos also made a statement last week, just days after the release of the Luanda Leaks report.

It reads in part: “The allegations which have been made against me over the last few days are extremely misleading and untrue. We will seek to clarify our position in relation to the latest accusations … This is a very concentrated, orchestrated and well-coordinated political attack, ahead of elections in Angola next year.”

Brecken Branstratoris the senior editor, gemstones at National Jeweler, covering sourcing, pricing and other developments in the colored stone sector.

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