High Court refuses to lift injunction on diamond business

Judge says he is satisfied injunction obtained by World Diamond Group SPA should remain in place.

The High Court has refused to lift an injunction restraining an Irish-based jewellery business from selling or distributing over €500,000 worth of jewels.

In a ruling on Thursday Mr Justice David Nolan said he was satisfied that the injunction obtained by World Diamond Group SPA against Shuwan Li otherwise Mooney trading as Empress Fine Jewels and Empress Fine Jewels Limited should remain in place.

The judge also rejected an application by WDG requiring the defendants to give some 77 items of jewellery in its store, which the plaintiff claims it owns, to an independent stakeholder until the application to extend the injunction has been determined.

That temporary injunction was granted last week over the defendant’s alleged refusal to return a consignment of goods to WDG worth €585,000.


The defendants, who strongly reject all claims of wrongdoing against them asked the court to lift the injunction.

Represented by Peter Shanley BL instructed by solicitor Brian O’Brien, the defendants claimed that WDG failed to disclose all the relevant information when seeking the injunction.

She claims the real reason for WDG bringing the action is because late last year the plaintiff’s CEO Mr Castrenze Giuliano ended a four year romantic intimate relationship between them.

She claims he ended it because he commenced a relationship with another person.

It was also claimed that continuation of the injunction would prejudice the defendant’s business. Ms Li claims that the consignment of goods which WDG seeks the return of, accounts for 40 per cent of her businesses’ stock.

It would not be possible to trade without it.

WDG, represented by Barney Quirke SC and Hugh Byrne BL instructed by Ellen Wrynn of Harrington’s Solicitors, opposed those claims.

Mr Quirke described the claim that Ms Li cannot operate her business without his clients goods as “a total fantasy”. Counsel said that there had not been any lack of candour by his client.

He said that Mr Giuliano accepts there had been an intimate relationship with Ms Li, but said it was not in the nature as depicted by her.

In addition counsel said it was the company, not Mr Giuliano, who had brought the proceedings over its concerns over payment for goods it supplied to Ms Li’s business and was not about the ending of any romantic relationship as alleged.

WDG also asked the court to be allowed amend their pleadings following an alleged incident when agents of the plaintiff attended the defendants’ store to conduct a pre-arranged inspection of the goods.

Counsel said the employees were only able to inspect €198,000 of the goods, or 77 items of jewellery WDG claims its owns.

The rest of the consignment of goods which WDG wants returned was not accounted for, counsel said.

Counsel said the employees were for a period not allowed leave the Dublin 2 premises unless they signed a document allegedly designed to confirm that WDG had been paid in cash for certain items of jewellery included in the consignment at the centre of the dispute.

Counsel said the contents of said document are absolutely untrue.

The employees claim they were threated by Ms Li, who also attended the inspection, that they would be “thrown in the river” and WDG was threatened with financial ruin.

As a result counsel said his side was now seeking an additional order directing the defendants to give the remaining goods to an independent party, who would hold on to the items.

In reply Mr Shanley said the allegations about what occurred during the inspection are hotly contested by Ms Li.

In his ruling Mr Justice Nolan said that he was refusing both applications.

While he was not making any final determination regarding what is “a complex” dispute, the judge said he was satisfied that sufficient information was put before the court to allow it grant the injunction.

He said he was concerned about the lack of financial information produced by the defendants in support of its application to vacate the injunction.

The judge, who voiced his concerns about what had allegedly occurred during the inspection, said that he was not ordering the defendant to give any items to an independent stakeholder.

The judge said he was satisfied that leaving the injunction sufficiently protected the plaintiffs position, and that any breach of that order would amount to a contempt of court.

After delivering his ruling the judge adjourned the matter to a date in April.

The injunction was sought by the judge last week after he was informed the commercial relationship between the parties, who commenced doing business in 2019 has “entirely broken down.”

Shuwan Li, it is claimed, runs her jewellery business from Johnstons Court in Dublin 2

The second named defendant is a company linked to the first named defendant.

Ms Li says the firm has never traded, and is not a necessary party to the action.

WDG claims difficulties arose between the parties over money allegedly owed to WDG for goods supplied to Ms Li’s business.

Negotiations took place between the parties and arrangements to repay what was allegedly owed were put in place.

After becoming concerned about the manner in which it was being repaid, WDG ended their commercial relationship and sought the return of various goods it advanced to the Irish business.

Arising out of an alleged refusal to return a consignment of jewellery supplied last year, WDG commenced High Court proceedings against the defendants.

As well as seeking the return of the goods, it also seeks damages, a declaration that WDG is the owner of the goods, and judgment against the defendants for a separate sum of €155,000 which it claims it is owed for other goods supplied to the defendants.

The defendant disputes the amount of money allegedly owed to WDG and denies any wrongdoing.