Credit score Suisse has been ordered by a Singaporean choose to pay $926mn to former Georgian prime minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, a remaining blow to the financial institution earlier than UBS is anticipated to finish its takeover as quickly as subsequent week.
Ivanishvili, who’s Georgia’s richest man, had already received a case in opposition to the Swiss financial institution in Bermuda final yr, the place he was awarded $607.5mn.
The billionaire’s dispute with Credit score Suisse dates again to 2011 when he was a consumer and sufferer of a personal banker who defrauded a number of the Swiss lender’s most delicate accounts.
For greater than a decade, Credit score Suisse personal banker Patrice Lescaudron defrauded a number of the financial institution’s shoppers — together with accounts held by Ivanishvili and Russian oligarch Vitaly Malkin — funding a lavish life-style of luxurious homes, sports activities vehicles and Rolex watches.
A damning report into the affair by the Swiss regulator Finma, which was inadvertently made public two years in the past, discovered repeated warning indicators, proof of a whole bunch of suspicious transactions and 4 formal disciplinary proceedings had not been acted upon by Credit score Suisse.
The financial institution has lengthy maintained that Lescaudron — who was criminally convicted in 2018 and died by suicide in 2020 after an early launch — was a extremely profitable rogue operator who labored tirelessly to cover his criminality from superiors and colleagues. The Swiss felony case in opposition to Lescaudron discovered the financial institution to have been a wronged get together.
A choose on the Singapore Worldwide Business Courtroom on Friday ordered Credit score Suisse’s native subsidiary to pay $926mn, much less $79mn that it had already paid. The choose stated that the sum within the Bermuda case must be recalculated in order that there was no double restoration.
In a press release, Credit score Suisse stated it might “vigorously pursue an enchantment”, including that the “judgment revealed at present is unsuitable and poses very vital authorized points”. The financial institution can also be interesting the Bermuda judgment.
After bearing in mind cash that has already been returned to Ivanishvili and the award within the Bermuda case, Credit score Suisse expects to need to pay $500mn following the Singapore judgment if its enchantment fails, in accordance with folks conversant in the matter.
A provision the financial institution had put aside to cowl the Singaporean case is under that quantity, they added.
Credit score Suisse was represented within the case by Charlie Falconer, the previous UK Lord Chancellor who was an in depth confidant of former prime minister Tony Blair. Cavinder Bull SC of Drew & Napier acted as lead counsel for Ivanishvili.
A spokesperson for Ivanishvili stated: “We anticipate Credit score Suisse to totally adjust to the judgment and at last settle for duty for its failures.’
The longstanding dispute with Ivanishvili is certainly one of a number of authorized battles that has hung over Credit score Suisse in recent times. UBS has put aside $4bn to cowl Credit score Suisse’s regulatory and litigation issues.
UBS’s takeover of its Swiss rival could possibly be accomplished as early as subsequent week after it acquired approval from EU antitrust regulators for the deal on Thursday.
Chatting with Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger on Friday, Swiss finance minister Karin Keller-Sutter, who performed a pivotal position in pulling collectively the shotgun marriage between the nation’s two largest banks, appeared to name Credit score Suisse administrators and executives “arsonists”.
When requested whether or not politicians bore some duty for Credit score Suisse’s downfall, she stated: “It’s a must to watch out to not confuse firefighters and arsonists. The board of administrators and govt board are accountable for Credit score Suisse — and never the federal government.”