The Case Of The Missing $50 Million Diamond

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Geneva authorities are currently investigating a missing 50.66 carat pink diamond estimated to be worth $50 million.   The case was brought to their attention in September 2013 by the stone’s owner Sylla Moussa, a diamond trader and owner of Johannesburg-based Sylla Diamond International.

Moussa originally had the diamond placed in storage with the International transport and storage company Malca-Amit in 2007 as he awaited the value of the colour diamond to go up.

In August 2013, Moussa says that he was told the diamond had been transferred to a South African businessman without his knowledge or approval.   Moussa says this goes against the agreement he had signed with Malca-Amit indicating he was the stone’s only owner.

However, as always, there is a second version of the story.

In a statement released by Malca-Amit on Tuesday April 1, they maintain that this is an ownership dispute between two parties.

“Moussa, a national of Guinea and South Africa, tendered the diamond to Malca-Amit for storage in early 2007, declaring a value of US$15 million. The following year, Moussa is understood to have defaulted on a debt and relinquished possession and ownership of the diamond to his creditor, Moti Abbas.”

At that time, Moussa came to Malca-Amit in Geneva, and personally delivered the diamond to Abbas, in the presence of witnesses. Abbas then tendered the diamond to Malca-Amit for storage, this time under his name.

Five years later, Moussa made the unfounded and unsubstantiated demand that the diamond be returned to him. Further, rather than making this demand of the diamond’s owner, Moussa, he turned to Malca-Amit. Needless to say, since Moussa had not been the party storing the diamond since 2008, he was unauthorized to issue any instructions concerning it.” – Francisco Bautista, Manager of Malca-Amit in Geneva

The statement from Malca-Amit goes on to mention some of Moussa’s other legal issues.

“He is reported to have been charged with defrauding a South African bank of tens of millions of rands, multiple counts of fraud, theft and money laundering, and violating exchange control regulations. According to press reports, Moussa has also wrongfully accused several South African police officers of diamond robbery.”

 

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