Billionaire Arkady Gaydamak has lost a court bid to reclaim hundreds of millions in unpaid commissions and dividends from the so-called "king of diamonds" Lev Leviev, in a battle over Angolan assets.
The legal dispute between the two magnates and former business partners started last May when Israeli-Russian businessman Gaydamak sued Leviev over the pair's interest in a diamond sales operation called Ascorp. The business was previously thought to be jointly owned by the Angolan government, Leviev and Antwerp-based Omega Diamonds.
Gaydamak claimed he owned an undisclosed stake in the operation, which held an exclusive deal to market Angola’s gems, in an effort to prevent rebel fighters being funded from the proceeds of so-called blood diamonds.
Leviev, whose company – named after himself – is the world’s largest cutter and polisher of diamonds, denied the claims and as Reuters reports succeeded:
His lawyers argued the claims were compromised by a settlement agreement between the two in August 2011.
High Court judge Geoffrey Vos said in his judgment on Friday: "I find that the 2001 agreement was indeed signed by Mr Gaydamak and Mr Leviev, and was a valid and enforceable agreement."
"But the parties entered a valid and binding settlement agreement which took effect on Aug. 6 2011, whereby each party released all claims against the other.
"Accordingly the claim will be dismissed."
Angola is an important player in the worldwide diamond market and has long been appealing to dealers and buyers.