April 10, 2002
STS Jewels Removed from Sept. 11 Lawsuit
STS Jewels, a jewelry manufacturer who deals in tanzanite, had charges against it dismissed from a lawsuit filed by relatives of three victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The dismissal order was filed April 4.
The plaintiffs sought an injunction banning STS Jewels from selling tanzanite and forcing it to contribute all proceeds from past tanzanite sales to a court-supervised Sept. 11 victims' relief fund.
The original lawsuit to which STS was a party also seeks $1 billion in compensatory damages from other defendants, including the Tanzanite Mineral Dealers Association, Osama bin Laden, the former Taliban government of Afghanistan, the Iraqi government and accused Sept. 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui. That lawsuit will proceed.
The lawsuit followed Wall Street Journal reports saying sales of tanzanite supported al Qaeda cells in East Africa. The reports received global press coverage, and were repeated by some news outlets in the jewelry trade press. In early February, the U.S. State Department declared tanzanite trading played no part in funding the Sept. 11 attacks.
"While we always felt confident there was nothing to the allegations, it feels very good to have the lawsuit behind us now," says Sunil Agrawal, CEO of STS Jewels. "What makes it even better is that the suit was withdrawn with prejudice. That means the same plaintiff cannot file the same complaint again."
by Robert Weldon, G.G.