Israeli Billionaire Leviev's Zambia Emerald-Mine Stake Restored

(Bloomberg) -- Zambia’s company registry reversed a decision to strip Israeli diamond billionaire Lev Leviev of his 50 percent stake in an emerald mine that’s at the heart of a $50 million dispute.

The Patent and Companies Registration Agency, or Pacra, said in a letter on Thursday that it reversed the forfeiture of the shares Leviev held in Gemcanton Investments Holdings Ltd. through his local unit. The letter came a day after Leviev’s lawyer, Dickson Jere, threatened to institute legal and criminal proceedings following changes to Gemcanton’s shareholding on Dec. 31.

Israeli Billionaire Leviev's Zambia Emerald-Mine Stake Restored

The changes had been “inadvertently accepted” by Pacra as the agency became aware that disputing shareholders had an ongoing court case, according to the letter obtained by Bloomberg.

Vaida Njobvu, a spokeswoman for the agency based in Lusaka, the capital, wasn’t immediately able to verify the letter.

Wolle, a company owned by Abdoulaye Ndiaye, who built the Gemcanton mine before selling 50 percent to Leviev, has been in legal battles with Leviev’s company, which claims Ndiaye owes it more than $50 million.

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