UK EXCLUSIVE: Manchester United sponsor Aon confirm ‘blood’ diamond company Mbada as ex-client

By Ian Silvera

Manchester United Football Club sponsor Aon confirmed they held a Zimbabwean diamond mining company as a client – despite it being blocked by US government sanctions.

Aon Corporation’s Vice President of Global Public Relations, David Prosperi, said that the company cut off ties with their controversial ex-client, Mbada Diamonds Ltd, at the beginning of this year.

Mr Prosperi said: “Aon has not held the Mbada Diamonds Ltd portfolio as a client since January 1, 2012.”

Mbada Diamonds was sanctioned by the United States government on the December 9 2011, which development bars all US based businesses from dealing with the diamond company.

It was listed as a result of its negative record on reported human rights abuses and links with the Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front, the party which rules the country and is led by President Robert Mugabe.

A spokesman for the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control confirmed to MM yesterday that: “All property and interests in property of Mbada Diamonds are blocked.”

It is believed that Aon, the world’s largest insurance broker, could now face charges of breaching US laws during the period between December 9 2011 and January 1 2012.

The Zimbabwean paper ZimEye also alleged yesterday that Aon’s US bosses have this week ordered its Zimbabwe arm to explain its dealings with Mbada diamonds in the wake of the revelations and submit a response within 48 hours.

Mr Prosperi said that the company adheres to rules and regulations in all of the countries where it conducts business.

He added: ”In all matters, Aon adheres to the highest levels of integrity and transparency in all of its business dealings, and complies fully with all rules and regulations in all of the countries where it conducts business around the world.”

Manchester United declined to comment.

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