Geelong captain Joel Selwood has clawed back a $60,000 debt from a diamond dealing company following a protracted legal dispute over a 3.21 carat engagement ring presented by Selwood to long-term partner Brit Davis.
The Cats champion launched legal action last month, when The Age revealed that Bensimon Online Pty Ltd had only refunded $6000 despite a Magistrates Court order for Bensimon Online $66,000, plus interest and costs.
Selwood's lawyer, Sarah Galbally, said on June 13 that the long-running feud with Bensimon Online had been "emotionally devastating" for both Selwood and his fiancee.
"These are once in a lifetime moments which can never be replaced, and this will always be a tainted memory of what was meant to be the happiest time in their lives," Ms Galbally said.
But Ron Bensimon, on the company's behalf, repeatedly denied any outstanding debt and claimed that a "mutually agreed" refund had been made in February 2019.
"I don't know where this lawyer is obtaining this information, but to my knowledge payment has been made and a transfer was made on February 27, 2019. I have not heard otherwise from Joel Selwood or his legal representative to advise otherwise," Mr Bensimon said last month.
However, it appears the company's position changed dramatically when Kate Bensimon, who is the owner and director of Bensimon Online, recently received substituted service of court documents from Selwood's legal team.
Ms Galbally declined to comment when contacted on Monday, but The Age has been told Selwood belatedly received $60,000 in the past fortnight.
Selwood says bankrupt diamond dealer ruined his engagement
He is not expected to pursue interest of $1518 and costs of $1967 awarded by the Melbourne Magistrates Court in March.
According to court documents filed in December 2018, Selwood's lawyer claimed the ring had been purchased from Bensimon Online on July 26, 2018, about a month before he proposed at Campbell Point House on the Bellarine Peninsula.
The ring was returned to Bensimon Online on October 2 for resizing, but never returned despite repeated requests from Selwood and his lawyer, according to legal documents.
Mr Bensimon did not respond to requests for comment, but it is not the first time the Bondi-based bankrupt has been prompted by a legal threat to settle a debt.
When his former Melbourne businesses collapsed in 2016, Mr Bensimon had amassed personal and business debts estimated to be worth more than $10 million.
A long list of creditors included diamond wholesalers, a former business partner, his sister, a one-time school friend and the Australian Tax Office.
An investigation by bankruptcy trustees Pitcher Partners attributed some of Mr Bensimon's financial problems to gambling losses totalling almost $2 million with betting agencies TAB, Ladbrokes and Mad Bookie.
Mr Bensimon also purchased $641,570 in Crown casino gaming chips, while also losing $693,868 trading derivative contracts and other equities, according to the trustees report.
Victoria-based bankruptcy trustees continue to pursue Mr Bensimon, who relocated to Bondi in 2017 and re-established his business selling precious stones.
- The Age