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Metals trader Kataman suing several firms for nickel fraud

Kitco News

Sept 6 (Reuters) - U.S. trading house Kataman Metals LLC is suing several companies for allegedly defrauding it out of more than $3 million worth of nickel and for not paying $1 million in interest on tin and nickel cargos, filings in Singapore and British high courts showed. In the Singapore court filings, Kataman said it paid $3.3 million for 167 metric tons of London Metal Exchange-branded nickel from Singapore-based New Alloys, but the material never arrived at the agreed destination in Dubai.

When Kataman tracked down the metal, which was stored in Malaysia, they found no nickel, the court document said. Kataman is also suing Techies Logistics (S) Pte, the logistics company that handled the shipment. In the court filing, Techies said it had no knowledge of the containers' content, and that the description of the goods had been provided by New Alloys. Kataman, New Alloys and Techies did not respond to several emails from Reuters requesting comment. Kataman's lawyer in Singapore declined to comment.

In a separate lawsuit in London, Kataman is suing TMT Metals (UK) Ltd for nearly $1 million in interest and storage charges relating to the sale of tin and nickel. In the court filings, Kataman said it had agreed to sell 252 metric tons of tin ingots to Mine Craft Ltd in August 2022 and 167 metric tons of nickel cathode to TMT in September, using suppliers nominated by the two firms. It did not name the suppliers. TMT and Mine Craft agreed to pay interest to Kataman while the metal was in transit, but they failed to pay most of the amount, Kataman said in the court filing. Kataman said it was only suing TMT because TMT had guaranteed to make payments in case Mine Craft failed to do so.

Mine Craft could not be reached for comments. Earlier this year, trading giant Trafigura filed a lawsuit alleging seven companies carried out "systematic fraud" over nickel cargoes. Trafigura is also suing both TMT Metals and Mine Craft. TMT is owned by Indian businessman Prateek Gupta, while Mine Craft is operating under his control, Trafigura said in its court filings. Lawyers for Gupta have rejected Trafigura's allegations of fraud. TMT Metals UK has filed an application with the London court challenging the jurisdiction of Kataman's lawsuit, Gupta's spokesman said in an email.

(Reporting by Mai Nguyen in Hanoi and Eric Onstad in London; editing by Miral Fahmy)

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