£1.2 million diamond scam foiled by High Court

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A London diamond broker targeting investors and mis-selling fancy coloured diamonds for investment at inflated prices has been ordered into liquidation by the High Court, following a petition presented by the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills.

The petition was issued following confidential enquiries carried out by Company Investigations, part of the Insolvency Service, under section 447 of the Companies Act 1985, as amended.

CDX Worldwide Ltd trading as the Coloured Diamond Exchange claimed to “sell the most sought after investment grade stones in the world” and that “it’s mission was to provide investment opportunities which have been largely unavailable to private investors.”

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It boasted also falsely boasted that, “prices have gone in only one direction – upwards, at approximately 15-25 per cent year on year.

The company rented virtual office services at 1 Royal Exchange Avenue, London, EC3V 3LT and operated a website www.coloureddiamondexchange.com.

The ‘contact us’ section of the former website directed people to a company having a similar name registered in the United Arab Emirates.

The court heard how fancy coloured diamonds were marketed and sold to the public as an investment opportunity using cold calling techniques. In some instances investors were falsely told that the company had been trading for over ten years, that it was FSA/FCA registered and was part of the Royal Exchange.

The company’s sole recorded officer, James Gilkes, informed the investigation that the company’s day to day business was outsourced to a marketing company run by a Sean McDermott but was either unable or unwilling to provide any details of the marketing company other than it was based in Dubai.

Investors were sold coloured diamonds for investment at mark ups of over 550% but afterwards were unable to make further contact with the company.

Welcoming the court’s decision Chris Mayhew, Company Investigations Supervisor, said:

“This pressured sales operation was yet another scam outfit making false and misleading statements to persuade people to make near worthless investments.

“We all need to be more cynical when it comes to the representations made by these schemes. We work closely with a number of partners to prevent unscrupulous companies fleecing the vulnerable, and the Insolvency Service will continue to investigate and bring to a halt the activities of companies harming or about to harm the public by operating in this way.”

 

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