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GIA Lab Director Resigns
A resignation after four got the sack
By: AFNS
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Oct 26 2005 12:00AM
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Reference: 44  

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Thomas C. Yonelunas resigned from the post of GIA Lab Director and will be replaced by Thomas M. Moses. His resignation was rendered in midst of rumors involving allegations of improper influence in diamond grading and four workers were fired. He was the longtime director of the Gemological Association of America’s Gem Trade Laboratory. GIA released a statement noting that, “Yonelunas was not implicated in any of the alleged violations of GIA professional ethics and conduct, but has agreed to step down for the good of the institution effective December 31.

In the spring Max Pincione sued the GIA and three other defendants, alleging that somebody had paid off the lab to “upgrade” two stones. The lab has cleared its stance saying, “Any statements about color and clarity are matters of opinion.” The GIA has not admitted any wrongdoing and has vowed to defend itself in court. “The Board was deeply disturbed by the claims asserted in the complaint, and we felt that we had a responsibility to ourselves, our clients, and the public to not only look into them but to also thoroughly examine all lab practices. That is precisely what we have done,” said Ralph Destino, chairman of GIA’s Board of Governors.

The law firm DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary US LLP is hired by the Lab to conduct a review under the direction of former assistant U.S. attorney Thomas F. O’Neil III. He is helping GIA set up a compliance program to ensure that employees have a way to report any suspects and wrongdoings.

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