The Antwerp Diamond Bank and parent company KBC Bank on April 6 filed a motion to dismiss a $500 million claim against them by Lazare Kaplan.
The much-publicized complaint claims that Antwerp Bank, KBC, and entities connected to diamantaire Erez Daleyot engaged in a “fraudulent scheme” to steal LKI’s diamonds.
But KBC counters that theory “lacks any credibility.”
“It defies logic that Antwerp Bank, which has been one of Lazare’s primary lenders for more than a decade, would participate in an elaborate scheme to steal Lazare’s property and then take steps to drive Lazare into bankruptcy, when Lazare owed Antwerp Bank and unsecured debt of more than $45 million,” it said. “Neither Antwerp nor KBC had any incentive to participate in the alleged ‘Illegal Scheme” to ‘destroy’ Lazare because, if this were to occur, Antwerp Bank would never recover Lazare’s outstanding debt.”
Antwerp Diamond Bank’s filing labels the charges “baseless” and called LKI’s filing “verbose, repetitious, and replete with irrelevant and prejudicial allegations.”
Both filings further argue that the case should not be tried in the U.S.
“This case does not belong in a U.S. court,” KBC’s filing reads, noting it already is being tried in Belgium. “The relevant events all occurred in Belgium or other countries outside the U.S. … [T]he suit is a transparent attempt to shoehorn a foreign dispute into a U.S forum.”