Geneva probe as €41m pink diamond disappears

Geneva authorities are investigating the disappearance of a pink diamond estimated to be worth around €41m from a reputable storage firm for gems, according to a news report.

Prosecutors ordered a probe after a South African-Guinean diamond trader, Sylla Moussa, filed a complaint in September claiming the 50.66-carat pink diamond he had been keeping in storage with Malca-Amit had vanished, public broadcaster RTS reported.

Police in mid-March searched the Geneva premises of the company, which offers transport and storage services for gems and other valuables, and placed three of its administrators under investigation, according to the report. The highly-respected firm could not be reached immediately for comment.

A company lawyer however stressed in an email to RTS that “Malca-Amit flatly denies Mr Moussa’s allegations. The company is co-operating fully with the authorities in order to dissipate any (suspicions) it participated in any illegal acts”.

Moussa, who runs his company Sylla Diamond International out of Johannesburg, placed the large, rectangular diamond in storage with Malca-Amit in 2007 as he waited to sell it for the best possible price.

But when he wanted to see his gem last August, Moussa says he was told it had been transferred to a South African businessman he had been dealing with and who he, according to his complaint, believes was the mastermind behind the crime, RTS reported.

That transfer, he lamented, happened despite a storage agreement he signed with Malca-Amit on August 16, 2007 stipulating he was the only owner of the rock.

“I have been in Geneva for six months and I will not leave until I have found my diamond,” he told RTS.

Malca-Amit’s lawyer told the broadcaster the company was considering filing its own suit against Moussa for making “libellous accusations”, insisting a storage agreement existed proving the diamond trader had in fact picked up his jewel on April 29, 2008.


Lifestyle

Irish Examiner Sustainability Month special: Are retailers meeting customer expectations for sustainable products?

Making the most of Irish strawberries - Michelle Darmody shares her recipes

Making Cents: Help protect the planet and occupy the kids

Good Omens and great expectations

More From The Irish Examiner