Diamonds: The Latest Lazare Legal Drama & More

Lazare Legal Tangles Live On

A federal judge has dismissed Lazare Kaplan International’s widely watched lawsuit against Antwerp Diamond Bank—but the New York diamond manufacturer instantly appealed the decision.

In the 163-page complaint filed in December 2011, the Diamond Trading Co. sightholder alleged that ­Belgian dealer Erez Daleyot misappropriated the company’s Angolan diamonds and that ADB helped facilitate this misappropriation. ADB denies the charges.

In April, ADB filed a motion for the case to be dismissed because it also was being litigated in Belgium. The court agreed. “Belgium is an adequate alternative forum,” Judge Andrew Carter, of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, ruled Sept. 5.

Days later, LKI filed a notice of civil appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit.

The district court did not address the “claims against the banks, but rather ruled as a procedural matter that the lawsuit should be brought and tried in a Belgian forum,” LKI explained in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. “Consistent with the opinion of outside counsel, [LKI] believes that the district court erred in its ruling and believes that the ruling should be reversed on appeal.”

In related news, the company told the SEC that it would once again not file a full financial report, pending the resolution of this lawsuit and other “material uncertainties.” LKI disclosed, however, that it anticipates a net sales drop of 23 percent in fiscal year 2012. The company blames “a decrease in rough trading volume” and “uncertain economic conditions” in the diamond and jewelry industries for the sluggish sales.

LKI hasn’t filed financial reports since fiscal year 2009, which led to its stock’s delisting from the Nasdaq Stock Market.

Rough and Ready

Lonrho Mining’s 131.5 ct. raw diamond

A 131.5 ct. piece of colorless diamond rough was recovered from a mining concession in Angola on Aug. 16. West Perth, Australia–based Lonrho Mining said it recovered the stone from a bulk sample at its Lulo concession. It is the largest find since the company started prospecting there in 2008. Lonrho didn’t specify color or clarity or how the stone would be sold, but described the rock as “gem quality.”

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