November 30, 2005
De Beers Settles U.S. Suits
Agreement has been reached, and a preliminary approval order issued, to settle the majority of civil class action suits filed against De Beers in the U.S., De Beers said Nov. 30. This settlement does not involve any admission of liability on the part of De Beers and will bring an end to a number of outstanding disputes, it said in a press release.
"We believe that settling these suits is the most sensible and responsible course of action for the company to take," said Gary Ralfe, De Beers managing director. "It is consistent with the other steps we have taken in both the U.S. and Europe to restructure and modernize both our operations and business model, and is in the best interests of De Beers' partners and stakeholders in southern Africa and elsewhere in the world.
"With this settlement behind us, De Beers can now focus greater attention and resources on being a leader in all of our markets and playing a leading role to address humanitarian issues such as the fight against HIV/AIDS. We will continue to work on these issues in consultation with the international community," said Ralfe.
The settlement is subject to final approval by Stanley R. Chesler, District Court Judge for the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. De Beers hopes the settlement will be approved during 2006.
A successful conclusion to these suits will allow the company to more effectively pursue its global interests by removing the cost, risk, reputational impact and distraction from the company's core activities required to defend multiple class actions and possible further litigation, De Beers said in its press release.
"We do not wish to comment or speculate on the approval process itself, or the issues under consideration by the court. Therefore, for the time being, we have nothing further to add to this statement," the release concluded.