New York – An Israeli born diamond merchant and philanthropist whose worth is estimated by Forbes at $1.19 billion is about to get even richer as a Manhattan federal judge has upheld an Israeli arbitration agreement which awarded a $209 million settlement in a legal dispute that has dragged on for years.
Lev Leviev, dubbed “The King of Diamonds,” was handed the potentially record breaking judgment on Tuesday in a case that allegedly involved death threats against an arbitrator as reported by the New York Post (http://nyp.st/2mabjbY). The amount of the award is potentially the largest ever in a case involving the diamond business.
After a ten year long partnership between Leviev and the Julius Klein Group fell apart in 2012, the two companies began the process of dissolving their shared interests. But according to Leviev, he found himself completely shut out of the joint enterprise a year later, receiving no profits at all despite owning 43.5 percent of the shared business.
The matter was initially brought before an Israeli beis din according to reports in Law360 (http://bit.ly/2lTAfCh), but over time matters became increasingly complicated, with one of the arbitrators receiving death threats and the Kleins filing a racketeering suit which was later dropped against Leviev, several family members and one of the arbitrators.
The Israeli beis din issued a confidential arbitration award in favor of Leviev last June. The Kleins protested the ruling, questioning the credibility of the arbitrators, noting that one had been found guilty of criminal tax evasion while two others shared undisclosed ties, prompting Leviev’s LGC USA Holdings, to ask a Manhattan court to confirm the beis din’s arbitration award.
Today’s court order issued by Judge Jesse Furman will have the Julius Klein Group which is owned by Haredi businessman Abraham David Klein shelling out an addition $142 million as dictated by the beis din in addition to more than $66 million already paid to Leviev.
Leviev said that his client intends to collect fully on the award said his attorney, Charles Michael.
“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 Michael.