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Antwerp Court Rejects BVGD's Suit Against HRD

Dec 8, 2005 6:44 PM   By Marc Goldstein
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(Rapaport...December 8, 2005) An Antwerp Summary Court judge rejected today a lawsuit filed by the Belgian Association of Polished Diamond Dealers (BVGD) against the Association of Rough Diamond Dealers (VHRD) and the Diamond High Council (HRD.) The BVGD had urged the court nullify appointments to the HRD board of directors of diamantaires Dilip Mehta, Chaim Pluczenik, and Kurt Einhorn, and to appoint an interim manager for the HRD.

HRD reports that the court decision was motivated by the fact that the BVGD, an association of polished dealers, has nothing to do with the internal elections of the association of rough dealers or the HRD, and stressed that the composition of the HRD board of directors is legal and valid.

Peter Meeus, managing director of the HRD said, “The HRD is grateful that the court has justified our arguments. We sincerely hope that with this ruling, the quarrels about appointments has been concluded in a definitive manner, and that we now can return to deal with the real challenges that face the Antwerp diamond sector.”

One of the arguments Meeus referred to was that, in the opinion of HRD, there seems to be no reason for a political matter to be submitted to a judiciary. Reports say lawyers for BVGD would made it clear they oppose the opinion.

The president of the BVGD reacted immediately, “The judge has decided to do nothing in the matter. Nevertheless, sooner or later the Handel Group will have to choose five new administrators. To do so, the VHRD board has to convene first, but it appears that its president is reluctant to do so as he is well aware that a new set of delegates might be chosen. He is buying for time, seeking desperately to postpone an outcome that is inevitable.”

The BVGD would appeal the decision. They consider that non-elected members are seizing at the HRD, which leaves them no choice. Moreover, they’re adamant that since the last legal round of elections (on October 27, 2005) there hasn’t been any board meeting at the VHRD, whereas their by-laws states that there should be one on a monthly basis.

An insider source admitted, "Some directors in the HRD are also fed-up with this situation and seek to change the status quo that paralyzes the institution," meaning that the situation had to change in favor of the BVGD requests. It would appear indeed, that some high ranking members of the various institutions that are involved in the law suits have been discussing informally about the issues, admitting even that the street doesn’t want to have two Diamond Trading Company sightholders at the lead of the HRD, however no agreement was reported yet.

Apart from an appeal, the BVGD General Board should get together next week in order to adapt their strategy and decide a line of action.

The next HRD board meeting is scheduled for December 15, 2005.

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Tags: HRD, Sightholders
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