London — A Belgian court has ordered lender KBC Group to return seized assets from one of the diamond industry’s most storied names within 24 hours, a court ruling shows. Exelco was on track to repay loans to KBC by 2020 as planned, so the lender’s early seizure of assets was unnecessary, the Antwerp court ruled on Thursday. A spokesman for KBC declined to comment. Exelco also declined to comment. KBC is seeking to recover $30m from Exelco. Last month, bailiffs searched the firm’s Antwerp offices, as well as offices belonging to De Beers and ABN Amro Group, where Exelco may also hold assets, according to court documents. Exelco also has credit lines with Standard Chartered, Thursday’s ruling noted. Companies polishing and trading diamonds are struggling to get credit as major banks seek to reduce exposure to the industry. Standard Chartered, one of the two leading lenders to the industry, said last year it was exiting diamond financing, while KBC’s Antwerp Diamond Bank, which made u...

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