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Ernie Blom Wins Legal Case Against WFDB

May 17, 2020 7:57 AM   By Rapaport News
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RAPAPORT... An Antwerp court has prohibited the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) from publicly blacklisting former president Ernie Blom over a payment dispute in Dubai.

Blom had sought an injunction to prevent the organization from complying with requests from the Dubai Diamond Exchange (DDE) after the bourse ruled against him last December.

The judge sided with Blom on May 12 after he had argued that the DDE lacked jurisdiction over the case, as it involved sales that took place in South Africa. He also noted that he never signed an arbitration agreement, and claimed the bourse did not follow its own articles of association.

The original case involved a dispute between Blom’s companies and three opponents: Angel Diamonds, KMA Diamonds and Diampex. Following arbitration, the DDE’s dispute-resolution committee ordered Blom to pay $331,507 to those businesses within 30 days.

On January 14, after Blom had failed to pay, the DDE asked the WFDB to inform all its member bourses of this fact, and prevent any members of those exchanges from doing business with him. The WFDB — of which Blom was still president — did not do this. The DDE later suspended him as a member.

Blom began legal proceedings with the WFDB itself in Antwerp in February, seeking to prevent the umbrella body from acting on the DDE’s requests and ban it from removing him from his role. On April 16, he then asked the Antwerp Commercial Court to declare the DDE’s December decision null and void. (Blom stood aside as WFDB president the following day, making it irrelevant whether the organization should suspend him.)

The judge ruled in his favor, banning the WFDB from “having…Blom posted throughout the world as a suspended or excluded member of the Dubai Diamond Exchange,” on pain of financial penalty.

Blom had been seeking “fairness” from the start of the process, he told Rapaport News by email on Friday.

“I am happy that the court has found in my favor,” he said, noting that the ruling was “loud and clear.”

The WFDB had not responded to a request for comment as of press time Sunday. The DDE declined to comment.

Image: Ernie Blom. (Laurent Boeki)
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Tags: Angel Diamonds, Antwerp, Antwerp Commercial Court, arbitration, bourses, DDE, Diampex, Dubai, Dubai Diamond Exchange, Ernie Blom, exchanges, KMA Diamonds, Rapaport News, South Africa, WFDB, World Federation of Diamond Bourses
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