It looks like Lazare Kaplan’s sensational $500 million suit against Antwerp Diamond Bank will proceed after all.
On June 20, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued an order remanding the case for further proceedings, a victory for the publicly held diamond manufacturer.
LKI sued its banker in a sensational 163-page complaint in December 2011, charging it with violating RICO statutes by aiding a misappropriation of the company’s diamonds. Antwerp Diamond Bank and parent company KBC called the charges “without merit.”
That case was dismissed on Sept. 5, 2012, when the court ruled that LKI was “forum shopping,” noting that the company had brought similar charges in Belgium.
“Belgium is an adequate alternative forum,” the lower court ruled. “New York has minimal interest in this litigation.”
After an appeal from LKI, the Appeals Court ruled the lower court “erred in failing to analyze properly the applicability of each forum selection clause to the various aspects of this litigation.”
“The unresolved factual disputes over the banking arrangements between Lazare and defendants do not permit us to decide the issue on the present record,” the court ruled, without commenting on the merits of the underlying claim.
In a statement, LKI president Leon Tempelsman said, “We are gratified by the Second Circuit’s decision to remand the Company’s RICO and state law claims to the Southern District of New York.”
Lawyers for Antwerp Diamond Bank and parent company KBC did not respond to requests for comment.
LKI has also filed a criminal complaint against ADB in Belgium.