Report: Diamond tycoon Jatin Mehta moves UK court to unfreeze assets worldwide after fraud charges
In a court filing last week, Mehta’s lawyers alleged that the Indian unit of Standard Chartered and liquidation firm Grant Thornton have indulged in a “sleight of hand” to get the order from courts earlier this year and it is completely unjustified.
Jatin Mehta, a diamond and jewellery tycoon, is reportedly taking his fight to a London court in the UK to undo a worldwide freeze on his assets after bank fraud allegations. According to sources, Mehta has been accused of swindling at least 15 money lenders in India out of more than $1 billion which led to a freezing order earlier this year in May.
In a court filing last week Mehta’s lawyers alleged that the Indian unit of Standard Chartered and liquidation firm Grant Thornton have indulged in a “sleight of hand” to get the order from courts earlier this year and it is completely unjustified. The lead lawyer, Andrew Hunter, argued that Mehta is “as much the victim of what occurred as the consortium of banks,” said a report by Bloomberg.
In 2013, the diamond tycoon was accused of falsely defaulting more than $1 billion in loans to two companies, Winsome Diamonds and Jewellery Ltd. and Forever Precious Diamonds & Jewellery Ltd. also owned by him which left 15 banks unpaid, said the report citing the court filings by lawyers for Grant Thornton.
Furthermore, Mehta allegedly also laundered the cash through several firms across the world which was then used to fund the expansion of his laboratory-grown diamond business. According to court filings, Grant Thornton is also acting as a liquidator for the companies which Mehta allegedly used to launder the money and will return any amount recovered to the Indian lenders.
On the other hand, Mehta has denied all allegations against him and said that his success in pioneering the business of lab-grown diamonds had threatened the already established diamond industry. The lab-grown diamonds in this case refer to a larger diamond developed from pieces of other diamonds after being exposed to extreme heat and pressure.
Furthermore, his lawyers have argued that the industry backed by Standard Chartered and the bank and Grant Thornton have launched this attack on him as a part of a “scheme” to unfairly sue him in the UK which would benefit them, the report indicated.
However, the lawyer for Grant Thornton has reportedly accused Mehta of making up issues where there are not any. Meanwhile, the spokespeople for both companies have declined to comment on the story. The court is set to give its ruling in the coming weeks, said the report.
Mehta’s case was one of the most high-profile bank fraud cases in India’s diamond industry. A series of fraud allegations have reportedly left an $8 billion hole in the country’s banking system, said the report. The diamond industry in India is responsible for cutting and polishing at least 90% of the world’s supply.
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