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Laos gem link

A GEM dealer who quit Perth after being hounded by creditors has emerged with an apparent link to two Australians held in custody in Laos over the disappearance of sapphires from that country.

Former SAS soldier Kerry Danes and his wife Kay have employed the same lawyer as Elias Christianos, appointing Sydney-based Ted Tzovaras to fight their case both here and abroad.

The appointment comes amid rumours that Mr Christianos, whose family business once ran a high-profile King Street gem concern, had been trying to sell up to 100kg of sapphires in Bangkok.

Mr Tzovaras confirmed he had acted for Mr Christianos but said that was unrelated to his intervention on behalf of the Danes.

The lawyer said there was no truth in the speculation about Mr Christianos’ involvement, claiming other parties were attempting to muddy the waters with false rumour and innuendo.

“That is Asia,” Mr Tzovaras said.

Mr Tzovaras said he was pleased with Australian Government efforts to intercede on behalf of the Danes who were detained after the Laotians took control of a mine they were working at and accused the pair of involvement in the disappearance of gems from the country.

Mr Christianos’ family company attempted to establish a retail, wholsesale, mining and export business in Perth during the 1990s, focusing in chrysoprase, a green stone which the company marketed as Australian jade.

But the business became swamped by creditors as the mine operators engaged in a long fight with the WA Government over royalties.

Mr Christianos, who has a conviction in WA for perjury, was later pursued in the Perth courts by a Colombian businessman after the disappearance of emeralds allegedly worth $200,000 at the time.

His brother Peter is also a gem dealer with a murky past. After featuring during the WA Inc royal commission for his part in a State Government purchase of a shopping centre paid for partly with opals, Peter Christianos featured on US television after skipping the country while on charges for smuggling opals worth more than $1 million.

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