Lev Leviev Wins $209M After Years of Feuding With Partners

“King of Diamonds” Lev Leviev just won a $209 million judgement against his former business partners in a case that was so bitterly contested it resulted in death threats and an alleged smear campaign to the arbitrator initially assigned to decide the case.

A Manhattan federal judge on Tuesday ordered Leviev’s former partners, diamond dealers Julius Klein Group, to fork over $142 million to Leviev’s LGC USA Holdings in addition to more than $66 million that has already been paid.

The award, which may be record in size for the industry, comes after years of feuding between Leviev and Julius Klein Group in federal and state court over how to split their businesses.

The dispute initially went to arbitration, but it quickly turned ugly, including allegations that the arbitrator assigned to decide the case was not fit to do the job.

Among the dirt brought out against the arbitrator was evidence that he had been convicted of tax fraud and other offenses tied to a scheme to export diamonds from Belgium while actually reselling them on the black market, according to Tuesday’s ruling by Judge Jesse Furman.

The arbitrator also claimed he received death threats, Judge Furman said.

“The Leviev Group will take all steps available, including seizing corporate and individual assets, to collect this judgment after the lengthy legal procedures now have resulted in this final ruling,” said lawyer Charles Michael, who represented Leviev in the dispute.

Alan Levine, the lawyer for Julius Klein Group, said he plans to appeal the Furman’s ruling over whether to toss the initial arbitration award.

1 reply
  1. Joe Levin
    Joe Levin says:

    Billionaire diamond dealer Lev Leviev will get $209 million after winning a judgment against his ex-business partners, his lawyers said Tuesday.

    In 2002, Leviev partnered with bizman Martin Klein and several of his family members in three joint diamond ventures. In 2012, Leviev wanted Klein to buy out his shares of their businesses, but they disagreed over the price.

    After four years of acrimonious arbitration, Leviev was awarded $112 million. That was in addition to $67 million the Kleins had already paid toward the buyout, court papers say.

    But the Klein family fought the decision, claiming the panel was biased and corrupt. The dispute ultimately wound up in Manhattan Federal Court.

    In a ruling issued Tuesday, Manhattan Federal Judge Jesse Furman sided with the arbitrators’ decision. Leviev’s haul is now $209 million, which his lawyers said “may be a record judgment in the diamond industry.”

    A lawyer for the Kleins said they would appeal.

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