Cable ties Mugabe to 'blood diamonds'

Dec. 10, 2010 at 5:14 PM

WASHINGTON, Dec. 10 (UPI) -- U.S. diplomats suspected Zimbabwe's president, his family and his top associates of profiting from "blood diamonds," cables released by WikiLeaks show.

Sources in the country told the United States Gideon Gono, head of Zimbabwe's central bank, ran the sale of diamonds from the Marange field, making thousands of dollars a month, The Daily Telegraph reported. President Robert Mugabe seized the field from African Consolidated Resources in 2006.

Gono allegedly bought diamonds for Zimbabwe dollars and resold them for U.S. dollars. Cables suggested that might have been a motive for the hyperinflation that has made Zimbabwean currency worthless.

Diamond panners at Marange have been attacked with dogs and gunned down from helicopters. A 2008 cable was titled Regime Elites Looting Deadly Diamond Fields.

"In a country filled with corrupt schemes, the diamond business in Zimbabwe is one of the dirtiest," the cable said.

The cable detailed allegations Gono was making thousands of dollars a month from diamond dealing, with money being funneled to Mugabe's wife and sister and to top members of the Zanu-PF party.

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