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A Melbourne-based diamond and gold dealer has been ordered to pay a diamond supplier more than $200,000. Image courtesy: Herald Sun.
A Melbourne-based diamond and gold dealer has been ordered to pay a diamond supplier more than $200,000. Image courtesy: Herald Sun.

Gold dealer linked to jewellery robberies ordered to pay $200,000

Gold and diamond dealer Alejandro Mendieta Blanco, who was charged by Victoria Police for selling stolen jewellery, has been ordered to pay diamond supplier Australian Diamond Trading Corporation (ADTC) more than $200,000.

The judgement, which was handed down by the Supreme Court of Victoria on 15 December 2017, stemmed from a 2016 injunction between the ADTC and diamond dealer Ronnie Ben-Simon.

ADTC had originally sought an order against Ben-Simon, the director of now defunct Bensimon Retail Group (BRG), after he failed to return five diamonds valued at US$145,658 (AU$182,802) that had been given to him on consignment.

However, Mendieta Blanco became ‘unlawfully’ in possession of the diamonds after Ben-Simon used them as collateral for loans received from Mendieta Blanco’s Sell Your Gold business.

Ben-Simon placed BRG – which included business Bensimon Diamonds in Melbourne’s Crown Casino – in liquidation after accruing debts of nearly $7 million.

Soon afterwards, ADTC filed bankruptcy proceedings against Ben-Simon and proceeded with its court order solely against Mendieta Blanco.

Court documents obtained by Jeweller shed further details on the two-year ordeal.

Dealings between Ben-Simon and Mendieta Blanco were described as “chaotic, haphazard and irregular”, with Mendieta Blanco admitting in court that he had lost track of the diamonds and was unable to identify which of them had been used for collateral.

“[Mendieta’s] lack of enquiry, lack of documentation, poor tracking of the diamonds pledged for loans, and the haphazard way that he went about his business raises serious questions about his bona fides to the ownership of Mr Ben-Simon’s authority to deal with the diamonds,” the documents stated.

Ben-Simon did not participate in the trial.

Ongoing investigations

As previously reported by Jeweller, Mendieta Blanco was arrested last October for receiving and selling stolen jewellery, believed to be linked to a string of armed robberies at jewellery stores throughout Melbourne.

He was charged with handling stolen goods, recklessly possessing stolen goods and knowingly possessing stolen goods.

Later that month, it was also reported that the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) was investigating Mendieta Blanco for his alleged participation in a GST fraud scheme involving gold bullion and precious metals.

It was understood the audit came after a business activity statement was submitted for his Sell Your Gold business that requested a GST refund of approximately $1 million.

According to The Age, Mendieta Blanco then received a $5 million tax bill on 12 October for allegedly claiming GST credits on transactions between 2014 and 2017.

Mendieta Blanco is scheduled to re-appear in court on 9 April 2018.

More reading
Melbourne jewellery robberies linked to gold GST fraud
Breakthrough in Melbourne jewellery robberies
Diamond dealer serves bankruptcy notice on Bensimon
Crown Casino jeweller in liquidation with $7 million debt




















Sunday, 18 February, 2018 01:59pm
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