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Africa Israel Executive at Center of Diamond-Firm Lawsuit

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Dec. 31 (Bloomberg) -- Chagit Sofiev-Leviev, daughter of billionaire Israeli real estate developer Lev Leviev, is at the center of a lawsuit over Taly Diamonds (N.Y.) Ltd., a New York precious-stone business that she half-controls.

Chagit Leviev, 27, appointed chief executive officer of the U.S. operations of Africa Israel Investments Ltd. in August, is unfairly trying to take control of liquidating Taly as president of partner LGC USA Holdings Inc., according to a Delaware Chancery Court lawsuit filed yesterday in Wilmington.

Through LGC, Chagit Leviev is “seeking to extract undeserved consideration from Taly,” which has thousands of diamonds, through a “fire sale,” according to the complaint against LGC by Taly and its manager, Yaron Turgeman.

Taly alleges Chagit Leviev interfered with the business by demanding that she sign all business checks, and that she wrongly raised suspicions that someone was seen sneaking down a back stairway with a “large brown paper bag,” when it was only an office manager taking checks to a company bookkeeper.

Lawyers for Taly seek a court injunction to allow it to control the wind-down of the business, and to exclude LGC from the process.

As chief executive of Africa Israel USA, Chagit Leviev manages assets including a retail condominium section of the Times Square Building in New York and the 67-story Casa Moderna on Biscayne Boulevard in Miami.

Nobody answered the telephone today at Africa Israel USA’s offices in the Times Square Building.

In July, Lev Leviev lost an estimated $136 million in jewels in a heist at the Cannes Carlton Intercontinental hotel, French prosecutors told the New York Times.

The case is Taly Diamonds v. LGC USA Holdings Inc., C9212, Delaware Chancery Court (Wilmington.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Phil Milford in Wilmington, Delaware at pmilford@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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