Swiss authorities are investigating the disappearance of a huge pink diamond estimated to be worth around US$50 million from a reputable storage firm.
Prosecutors ordered a probe after a South African-Guinean diamond trader, Sylla Moussa, filed a complaint in September claiming the 50.66-carat pink diamond he had been keeping in storage with Malca-Amit had vanished, public broadcaster RTS reported on Sunday.
Police in mid-March searched the Geneva premises of the company, which offers transport and storage services for gems and other valuables, and reportedly placed three of its administrators under investigation.
A company lawyer stressed in an e-mail to RTS: "Malca-Amit flatly denies Mr Moussa's allegations. The company is co-operating fully with the authorities in order to dissipate any [suspicions] it participated in any illegal acts."
Moussa, who runs his company Sylla Diamond International (SDI) out of Johannesburg, placed the large, rectangular diamond in storage with Malca-Amit in 2007.
But when he wanted to see his gem last August, Moussa said he was told it had been transferred to a South African businessman he had been dealing with. Moussa believes the South African masterminded the crime.
Moussa claimed he signed a storage agreement with Malca-Amit on August 16, 2007 stipulating he was the gem's only owner.
Malca-Amit's lawyer told the broadcaster the company was considering filing its own suit against Moussa for making "libellous accusations", insisting a storage agreement existed proving the diamond trader had in fact picked up his jewel on April 29, 2008.