Company says stone was placed in possession of new owner in 2008.
Jewellery logistics and storage company Malca-Amit has responded to press reports that it lost a client’s 50.66ct pink diamond, with a statement that seeks to clarify the situation.
Reports that the company had lost the stone came to the fore in early April, after Sylla Moussa, a national of Guinea and South Africa, filed a complaint that his 50.66ct pink diamond kept in storage at Malca-Amit Geneva had vanished.
Moussa is the head of his own company, Johannesburg-based Sylla Diamond International (SDI). He reportedly tendered the diamond to Malca-Amit for storage in early 2007, declaring a value of USD$15 million (£8.9m). The Geneva prosecutor general’s office has confirmed it launched an investivation into the claims.
Malca-Amit reponded to Moussa’s claims, stating: "[In 2008] 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 turned to Malca-Amit. Needless to say, since Moussa had not been the party storing the diamond since 2008, he was unauthorised to issue any instructions concerning it."
Malca-Amit also outlined that Moussa "appears to have been involved in several criminal wrongdoings in South Africa in the intervening years", based on publicly available information.
It is reported that Moussa was charged with defrauding a South African bank of tens of millions of rand, multiple counts of fraud, theft and money laundering, and violating exchange control regulations. According to press reports, he has also wrongfully accused several South African police officers of diamond robbery.
According to Sowetan Live, Moussa has accused Malca-Amit of "defamation" and stresses he has nothing to hide, having never been convicted of any previous crimes.
Francisco Bautista, manager of Malca-Amit in Geneva, said: "Malca-Amit denies any involvement in what is nothing other than an ownership dispute, and is cooperating fully with Swiss authorities to bring the matter to a conclusion."