Published On: Fri, Dec 25th, 2015

Australian Rabbi Loses $56 Million in Legal Battle, Report

 

Rabbi Joseph “Diamond Joe” Gutnick and his company Legend International Holdings owe $40.4 million plus interest to an Indian fertilizer company after an Australian court upheld a Singapore arbitration ruling against Gutnick and Legend, The Age reported.

The Singapore arbitrators found Gutnick “induced, by fraudulent misrepresentation, certain purchases of shares in Legend International Holdings, ” and thereby deceived Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative (IFFCO) and its subsidiary Kisan International Trading.

According to FailedMessiah.com, Gutnick, the late Chabad-Lubavitch Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson’s personal representative and a billionaire mogul, handpicked and personally appointed by Schneerson, has a somewhat dubious financial past. Supposedly, he left many Chabad members with great financial losses.

Gutnick now personally owes $28.05 million plus interest, total award by the Supreme Court of Victoria in favor of Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative (IFFCO) and its subsidiary Kisan International Trading. The amount will likely be substantial because the money has been owed IFFCO for several years, reported The Age. Legend International is to pay the remaining amount of the judgment in favor of IFFCO. Interest is expected to add millions more to Mr Gutnick and Legend International’s final bill.

Gutnick and Legend refused to pay the Singapore arbitration judgment after it was issued on May 7. Judge Clyde Croft reportedly ruled lawyers for Gutnick and Legend had failed to prove a “double payment” would exist if Gutnick and legend were forced to pay IFFCO. Subsequently, Gutnick reportedly plans to appeal.

As according to Forbes Magazine, Joseph Isaac Gutnick, also known as “Diamond Joe, ” born in June 1952, is an Australian businessman and mining industry entrepreneur. He is also an ordained rabbi and is well known for his philanthropy in the Jewish world. Mr Gutnick made his fortune and earned his nickname “Diamond Joe” through his extensive investments in diamond and gold projects that created such personal wealth he graced the pages of the BRW Rich List for many years, the last time in 2014 when his wealth was estimated at $255 million.

The dispute is linked to Mr Gutnick’s desire to create a fertilizer group to rival Incitec Pivot seven years ago. In 2008, Mr Gutnick and his business partners announced a $103 million deal to supply Queensland phosphate to IFFCO for its Paradeep plant. Under the deal, IFFCO was to invest the $103 million over two years through shares and options in Legend International. However, the partnership turned sour and IFFCO and Kisan filed action against Mr Gutnick and Legend International for the return of the money they had handed over for the shares and the options.

This article was first published at Jewish Voice, by Raphael Rahamani

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