By Michelle Graff
A piece from the “Maps by A. Jaffe” collection. New York-based diamond company Parag Diamonds (d/b/a Paramount Gems) placed the winning bid to purchase A. Jaffe’s auctions at a bankruptcy auction held last week. The sale approval hearing is scheduled for May 15.
New York--Parag Diamonds has emerged as the winning bidder for the assets of A. Jaffe Inc., one of the U.S. companies connected to Indian diamantaire Nirav Modi that filed for bankruptcy protection in February.

According to court documents filed Saturday, a total of four qualified bidders attended the auction for the 126-year-old diamond company’s assets.
While Parag Diamonds Inc., which does business as Paramount Gems, was the top bidder, a company called Flourish City Holdings Ltd. emerged as the back-up bidder.

Court filings provided no further details and Ian Winters, the attorney representing A. Jaffe, said Monday the company cannot disclose the purchase price at this time, as the sale does not close until it is approved by the court. The A. Jaffe sale approval hearing is set for May 15.

A spokeswoman for A. Jaffe said the company plans to issue a statement on the sale Friday.

The auctions for Firestar Diamond Inc. and Fantasy Inc., the other Nirav Modi-connected companies that filed Chapter 11 alongside A. Jaffe, have been postponed until a yet-to-be-determined date. Winters said discussions are ongoing with “interested parties.”

Parag Diamonds also operates as Paramount Gems, which, according to its website, is a seventh-generation diamond business that opened in New York in 1978. The company also has offices in Canada, India and Hong Kong, and is a certified supplier member of the American Gem Society.

Parag/Paramount owner Parag Jain did not respond to multiple requests for comment on his company’s purchase of A. Jaffe.

Modi is the billionaire Indian diamantaire accused of cheating Punjab National Bank out of nearly $2 billion—charges he has denied. He is wanted by Indian officials, who currently are seeking to extradite him.

The day after the A. Jaffe auction took place, the court-appointed examiner brought in to investigate the extent of the connection between Modi and his U.S. companies filed his preliminary work plan and budget.

John J. Carney was appointed by the U.S. trustee on April 19 and, according to court documents, has 120 days from the date of his appointment to file a written report of his investigation.

Court papers state he expects to examine “tens of thousands” of pages of documents; interview key witnesses in the United States and, if necessary, in India; conduct a forensic financial analysis and trace the movement of monies obtained under the “alleged fraud circumstances” against Punjab National Bank to the debtors (A. Jaffe, Firestar Diamond, Fantasy); and work with the Indian Ministry of Corporate Affairs to obtain relevant documents and information.

The examiner is looking to determine if Modi or any of his entities directed or influenced the decisions or actions of A. Jaffe, Firestar and Fantasy in the Chapter 11 case, and whether any current company executives “actively and knowingly participated in fraud or dishonesty,” court papers state.

Carney also has filed an application for order authorizing him to retroactively retain the law firm Baker & Hostetler LLP as his counsel. The hearing on the retention application is set for May 15, the same day as the hearing on the A. Jaffe sale.

He also is seeking to bring in forensic accounting firm Alvarez & Marsal for the investigation.

Get the Daily News >
National Jeweler

Fine Jewelry Industry News

Since 1906, National Jeweler has been the must-read news source for smart jewelry professionals--jewelry retailers, designers, buyers, manufacturers, and suppliers. From market analysis to emerging jewelry trends, we cover the important industry topics vital to the everyday success of jewelry professionals worldwide. National Jeweler delivers the most urgent jewelry news necessary for running your day-to-day jewelry business here, and via our daily e-newsletter, website and other specialty publications, such as "The State of the Majors." National Jeweler is published by Jewelers of America, the leading nonprofit jewelry association in the United States.