Jewelers in chic Huidevettersstraat and Schuttershofstraat linked to drug mafia: Kali team closes shops (Antwerp)

Jewelers in chic Huidevettersstraat and Schuttershofstraat linked to drug mafia: Kali team closes shops (Antwerp)
Jewelers in chic Huidevettersstraat and Schuttershofstraat linked to drug mafia: Kali team closes shops (Antwerp)

Boutique D’or is mainly known as a point of sale for exclusive watches from brands such as Rolex or Patek Philippe, which are very popular in the criminal environment. The case is also in the hands of Rafa D., the son of the infamous Georgian godfather Rubi D. In the late 1990s, the latter was considered one of the leaders of the Georgian milieu of Falcon Square and Pelikaanstraat.

Published at the end of June Gazet van Antwerpen already that both Rafa and his father Rubi D. were arrested at the request of the French police in the context of a large-scale investigation into the recovery of stolen luxury watches. The French investigators arrested a total of nine people and seized 152 watches. Some watches cost more than a modest family home.

Brush up

In the summer of 2021, judicial police investigators in Nice had noticed a huge increase in the theft of luxury watches. Not only in the city on the Côte d’Azur, but also in the famous seaside resort of Saint-Tropez and in the capital Paris, wealthy people were robbed of their watches by force or under threat of weapons.

During the investigation on the Côte d’Azur, the French investigators were able to map out the structure of a criminal organization. The thieves turned out to be selling their stolen watches to a 42-year-old Corsican, he is seen as the absolute ‘patron’ of the organization. The Corsican then had the stolen watches polished by various jewelers. They removed traces, provided original packaging and even supplied certificates so that the clocks could be sold back. That is how Rafa D. from Antwerp came into the picture. He would be one of the people who ensured that the stolen watches could be put back on the market.

Criminal environment

After the French investigators, the investigators of the DIFA team, part of the KALI task force of the local and federal police, also took action. These investigators focus on businesses that are presumably linked to the drug environment or that offer facilitating services to this environment. On Wednesday 31 August, the team organized a control campaign at Boutique d’Or.

“Both the building in the Schuttershofstraat and that in the Huidevettersstraat were examined. The control action of the jewelery shops was part of a criminal investigation into money laundering and tax fraud in the trade of luxury second-hand watches and jewelery,” according to the Antwerp police.

“Luxury watches are often used as a means of payment within the criminal environment. During the audit, the DIFA team identified a multitude of infringements in the context of the company’s business operations. By order of the Public Prosecution Service of Antwerp, the bookkeeping was confiscated and the commercial premises were legally sealed.” (vdaa​/sare)

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