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ABN Amro Has Court Seal Arjav Belgium Diamonds

Dec 17, 2012 9:31 AM   By Avi Krawitz
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RAPAPORT... ABN Amro had Belgium authorities seal the safes of Arjav Diamonds in Antwerp after negotiations failed regarding the diamond company’s $154 million debt. Arjav Diamonds ‎is filing a counter claim against the bank for $230 million for damages incurred to the ‎group. Court appearances are expected this Thursday.‎

‎“We have a commercial dispute with ABN Amro... A large variety of abuses spread ‎over many years by ABN Amro have inflicted substantial financial damages to the Arjav ‎group,” Ashit Mehta, a director of Arjav Diamonds told Rapaport News. “Fortunately, the ‎profitability and viability of the diamond business has enabled Arjav to absorb these ‎losses. Liquidity and equity of Arjav Diamonds today is solid.”‎
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Mehta did not disclose the value of the goods that were sealed but he stressed that the ‎bank’s action affected only the company’s safes in Antwerp  and that the goods are still in ‎Arjav’s possession.

Mehta reported that Arjav’s total bank debt in Belgium amounted to $385 million  among ABN ‎Amro, Standard Charter Bank, Bank of India, ICICI Bank and the State Bank of India. He said that the company’s dispute is only with ABN Amro. The four other banks have ‎reportedly requested a meeting with ABN Amro. ‎

He also claimed that Ernst & Young, acting on behalf of ABN Amro, has since forwarded letters to Arjav’s clients ‎requesting that they make payments directly to ABN Amro, but noted that most of the ‎company’s receivables have already been paid.  ‎

ABN Amro does not comment on relationship with individual clients. “This is a case ‎between Arjav and the bank so we cannot provide any further information given the ‎client-bank confidentiality to be expected from us,” a spokesperson for the bank stated.  The case is an isolated situation and has no effect on ABN Amro’s ‎position in the diamond industry or its attitude toward the market, according to the person. ‎

Arjav Diamonds is one of Antwerp’s largest diamond manufacturing and trading ‎companies and has a De Beers London sight in addition to buying rough from ALROSA, ‎Harry Winston and BHP Billiton. ‎

ABN Amro is one of the primary lending institutions serving the diamond trade, with a ‎presence in most key diamond centers, including in Antwerp, Dubai, New York, ‎Botswana, Hong Kong and Mumbai. ‎
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Tags: ABN Amro Arjav Diamonds Blue Star Diamonds Rapaport Diamonds, Avi Krawitz
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