A Bay Street financing firm is looking for $15 million in rough diamonds and a missing shipping container that may hold diamond cutting equipment worth $18 million.
The owner of both — Deepak Kumar — says they are somewhere in Yellowknife.
That's according to emails and affidavits entered as exhibits in a lawsuit Callidus Capital Corporation has filed against Kumar and his businesses, Deepak International and Deepak Developments. None of the allegations have been proven in court.
The company loaned Kumar the money to buy two empty diamond cutting and polishing plants from the Northwest Territories government.
Callidus says Kumar put up the diamond cutting equipment as security for loans and told the lender the equipment was stored in shipping containers near the Yellowknife airport. When Callidus opened four containers last fall, all it found was worthless office furniture and equipment.
But there may have been a fifth.
In an affidavit sworn by Chris Bowra, the vice-president of the receiver Callidus hired to seize the equipment, he says a territorial government official said the containers were owned by the territorial government. Bowra says the official told him the Department of Public Works and Services had hired a local man to move furniture and equipment out of one of the plants and into the containers.
Missing fifth container
But Bowra said the local man, Darwin Rudkevitch, told him that at the time he moved the equipment, there were five containers. Rudkevitch understood one of the containers held "high value equipment that was associated with Deepak International."
Rudkevitch said one of the containers — possibly the one with the high value equipment — was removed from the site sometime in September 2014.
Bowra says Kumar told him the $18 million worth of diamond equipment is now located in an "alternative, secure location in Yellowknife."
The day before Callidus and Bowra found nothing but junk in the four containers near the airport, Deepak International's lawyer sent Callidus's lawyer an email saying Kumar was willing to put up rough diamonds worth $15 million as additional security in exchange for more time to find another financier. In the email, Deepak's lawyer said the diamonds were in a secure location in Yellowknife.
No rough diamonds sold to Deepak, say N.W.T. mines
The offer of rough diamonds raises questions about where Kumar may be getting them from. When he bought the plants, the government certified him as a northern diamond manufacturer. That entitled him to purchase some of the rough diamonds mined in the N.W.T.
But Dominion Diamonds, Rio Tinto and De Beers — the owners of N.W.T.'s operating diamond mines — all say they don't sell diamonds to Deepak International.
Bowra and Callidus have demanded that Kumar reveal the location of both the equipment and the diamonds. They say that, so far, Kumar has refused to reveal the location of either.
Kumar appeared in court on another matter unrelated to the lawsuit last month. He hesitated when the judge asked him for his mailing address. Kumar said he was reluctant to give it out for fear for his safety and that of his family. He gave it after the judge banned the media from publishing it.
CBC News reached Kumar by email. He refused to comment, saying the matter was before the courts. He has yet to respond to the Callidus lawsuit.