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Singapore court orders Credit Suisse unit to pay Georgia ex-PM $743 mn

A Singapore court mandated Credit Suisse’s unit to compensate Georgian billionaire and former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili US$743 million for not securing his assets. Previously, the court had ruled a payment of US$926 million.

Ivanishvili had blamed the bank for fraudulent mismanagement leading to his investment losses. This lawsuit adds to Credit Suisse’s woes, which was overtaken by UBS amid scandals.

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SINGAPORE: A Singapore court on Tuesday ordered a unit of Credit Suisse to pay Georgian billionaire and ex-prime minister Bidzina Ivanishvili US$743 million for failing in its duty to safeguard his assets, revising down the amount ruled in an earlier judgement.

The decision is another blow for the fallen banking giant, which was taken over by its rival UBS, Switzerland’s biggest bank, in June to prevent a financial collapse following a series of scandals.

“The amount of compensation that the defendant must pay is US$742.73m,” the Singapore International Commercial Court said in a judgement published online.

Ivanishvili had sued Credit Suisse in Singapore, New Zealand and Bermuda, blaming the bank for fraudulent mismanagement that led to the billionaire suffering investment losses.

The lawsuit in the city-state was filed against Credit Suisse Group’s Singapore subsidiary, Credit Suisse Trust Ltd.

The court in May ordered the bank unit to pay Ivanishvili a higher amount of US$926 million but lowered that on Tuesday to take into account an earlier settlement and to avoid “double recovery”, according to Tuesday’s judgement.

Credit Suisse said it took note of the ruling.

“The Singapore Court’s judgment is not final and, as already communicated in May 2023, Credit Suisse Trust Limited will pursue an appeal,” a spokesperson said in a statement.

The years-long case has focused on the role of Ivanishvili’s relationship manager Patrice Lescaudron, who was sentenced by Swiss authorities to five years in prison in 2018 on charges of fraud and forgery.

Credit Suisse had approached Ivanishvili in late 2004 to offer him wealth-management services just after the billionaire and his business partner sold a metallurgical complex in Russia for US$1.6 billion.

Ivanishvili agreed to deposit more than US$1 billion into a trust set up in 2005 for inheritance planning and asset holding, the judgement in May said.

Lescaudron, however, misappropriated millions of dollars over the next nine years until 2015 when his fraud was exposed, according to the judgement in May.

— AFP

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