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Ausdex Diamond Exchange website
Ausdex Diamond Exchange website
 









 

Ausdex Australian Diamond Exchange closes after bankruptcy

A number of questions are being raised about a Geelong-based online diamond business after its owner declared bankruptcy before Christmas and the business’ website was closed on Tuesday. After months of confusion Ausdex Australian Diamond Exchange and its website has finally ceased operating.

Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) records still list Francine Gumina as the sole trader of Ausdex Australian Diamond Exchange, even though she was declared bankrupt on December 14.

Gumina lodged a Debtors Petition to the Insolvency and Trustee Service of Australia, which shows she had debts in excess of $110,000. 

The diamond-trading platform - ausdiamondex.com.au – launched in 2009, when it began marketing to the trade. Membership to the platform was $1,000.

Ausdiamondex.com.au originally listed its address as Level 27, 101 Collins St, Melbourne, which is in fact a serviced office. It also had a 1300 phone number but late last year the number was disconnected even though it still appeared on the website.

In July last year an ad was posted on a free classifieds website offering the business for sale at $50,000. The ad read, “Ausdex Australian Diamond Exchange - The First Diamond Trading Network in Australia (Trade Only)” and provided the contact details of Francine Gumina. (See image gallery.)

After concerns about the business at that time Gumina advised Jeweller that Ausdex had been sold though she would not provide details of the purchaser’s identity. The website remained active but at around that time, the business’s Geelong phone number was disconnected and emails began to be answered by a person named “Daniel”.

Interestingly, last October ads began appearing on various websites for another, similarly named business - Ausdex Diamond Pty Ltd. The ads were seeking investors for an Australia-based diamond processing plant. One read, “Ausdex Diamonds is positioned to become Australia’s first diamond manufacturer.”

Another advertisement was seeking US$8 million in venture capital funding and stated, “There are no diamond processing plants in Australia. Ausdex will start a new industry here by starting a diamond processing plant.” (See image gallery.)

The ads declared, “A robust financial model for Ausdex has been completed by Pitcher Partners, a top-tier accounting and consulting firm. Ausdex Diamonds is projected to have gross revenue of $17.2m by Year 3 of operation,” but a spokesman for Pitcher Partners denies making any financial projection.

Matthew Pringle, a partner at Pitcher Partners, said that his company no longer acts for Ausdex, adding, “All we did on their [Ausdex Diamond’s] instructions is build a financial model. We haven’t verified the accuracy or integrity of the model at all. All the underlying assumptions and data is theirs.”

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Pringle said he was familiar with the wording of the ad and that all attempts to contact Catalini, had failed. “We sent a letter asking them to cease the ad,” Pringle said.

ASIC records list Alessandro Catalini as Ausdex Diamond’s sole director. Catalini is the brother of Gumina and Ausdex Diamond’s registered business address in Geelong is Gumina’s home. Catalini describes himself as a qualified jeweller, diamond merchant and gold trader. 

A printed prospectus-style advertisement for Ausdex Diamond Pty Ltd states: “Sandro has been involved in the jewellery industry for his whole life as part of a 58-year-old family business, providing him with an extensive list of contacts in the closed jewellery community.”

As late as December the Ausdiamondex.com.au website stated, “Ausdex Australian Diamond Exchange is under new management. This site is currently under development and we will not be taking on new members until further notice. Current members are able to continue to trade as normal.”

Prior to Christmas emails to Ausdiamondex.com.au were answered by “Daniel” who advised, “We are under new management, if you could fill in the application on the site and submit once you have completed it [we] will send a notification.”

On December 19, just a few days after Gumina’s bankruptcy notice, Ausdiamondex.com.au home page read, “IMPORTANT NOTICE - Recent enquiries made to this site suggests that people may be confused about whether Ausdex Diamond Exchange is operating. To avoid doubt we advise that no membership subscriptions are being taken and no payments for subscriptions will be accepted. This website is under re-development until further notice. We have taken the step of removing any information that has given the impression that the site is active in any way.”

Editor’s note: This story was re-posted on 30 June, 2011 in response to a prior complaint by Mr Sandro Catalini. The reposting is to clarify that his business activities and website are, or were, separate to those of Ms Francine Gumina’s even though Mr Catalini’s website (ausdiamondex.com.au) was very similar in name to Ms Francine Gumina’s (ausdiamondex.com.au). 

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Wednesday, 24 July, 2019 09:06am
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