Credit Suisse Ordered to Pay Former Georgian PM $926 Million in Damages
In another blow to the collapsed banking behemoth, a Singapore court ordered Credit Suisse to compensate an ex-Georgian prime minister $926 million for failing to preserve his assets.
In March, Credit Suisse was purchased by its rival UBS, Switzerland’s largest bank, to prevent a financial collapse following a series of scandals. Former Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili had sued Credit Suisse in Singapore, New Zealand, and Bermuda, blaming the bank for fraudulent mismanagement that resulted in investment losses for the billionaire.
Credit Suisse Group’s Singapore business, Credit Suisse Trust Ltd, was sued in the city-state. The Singapore International Commercial Court found in favor of Ivanishvili and ordered him to be reimbursed in a judgement issued on Friday.
“That amount, as of the date of trial, is USD 926 million,” international judge Patricia Bergin wrote in her verdict. Patricia Bergin added that as a result of a settlement, the amount “should be reduced by USD 79,430,773.” In a statement, Credit Suisse stated that it will appeal the ruling. “The judgement published today is incorrect and raises serious legal issues,” it said.
The court ruled that Credit Suisse failed to protect Bidzina Ivanishvili’s assets from fraudulent transactions by his relationship manager Patrice Lescaudron, who was convicted of five years in jail in 2018 on fraud and forgery charges. Credit Suisse approached Bidzina Ivanishvili in late 2004, shortly after the billionaire and his business partner sold a metallurgical complex in Russia for $1.6 billion.
According to the verdict, Bidzina Ivanishvili agreed to put more than $1 billion into a trust established in 2005 for inheritance planning and asset keeping. Patrice Lescaudron, however, misappropriated millions of dollars over the next nine years until 2015 when his fraud was exposed, according to the judgement.