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Wednesday, July 17, 2024 | Back issues
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Graff Diamonds Wants to LoJack Pricey Jewel

MANHATTAN (CN) - A Belgium-based jeweler bought and must immediately return the massive diamond stolen from a London shop in 2007, Graff Diamonds says in court.

Graff Diamonds Ltd. sued Siddhi Gems BVBA on Oct. 2 in New York County Supreme Court.

It says the "5.34 carat cut-cornered rectangular modified brilliant cut diamond" was among part of a $20 million jewelry heist at one of its shops on Sloane Street in London.

The complaint does not specify what happened to those who robbed Graff on July 5, 2007, but it says Siddhi now has possession of the 5.34 carat diamond and refuses to relinquish it.

Graff's complaint mirrors one that it filed two years ago about a yellow diamond it lost in the same 2007 robbery.

The 2012 complaint alleged that Hong Kong-based Yau On Co. dba Yau On Pawn Shop obtained possession of its "16.64 carat yellow diamond."

"At some point in time after the robbery, the diamond was recut and reconstituted as a 16.28 Carat Modified Cushion Cut diamond," the 2012 complaint states.

Yau allegedly submitted the recut stone to the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) in New York for analysis.

The GIA already had detailed records on the gem because it previously certified the diamond for Graff, according to the complaint.

Graff said it made a Jan. 26, 2011, demand on Yau to let the GIA give it the diamond, but that "Yau has refused."

Now "the GIA is in possession of the [5.34 carat] diamond," according to the complaint.

Graff says that Antwerp-based Siddhi "was not a good faith purchaser ... in the ordinary course of business," and that Siddhi has "only void title" to the stone.

Graff's attorney, Michael Bono with Wade Clark Mulcahy, did not return a phone call Monday seeking comment.

Reports on the 2007 heist say that two men in suits got out of a rented Bentley, posed as customers, then drew handguns before stealing the jewelry.

Just a few years after the $20 million heist, Graff's shop in New Bond Street, London, was robbed of $65 million worth of gems.

That 2009 jewelry heist, attributed to the Pink Panthers robbery crew, is considered Britain's largest. Graff also held the previous record from a 2003 robbery of the Bond Street store in which the Pink Panthers made away with $41 million worth of jewels.

British police reported that all five of the robbers from the 2009 heist were found guilty and received length prison sentences.

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