New Twist For UBS, Credit Suisse In Georgian Billionaire Case – Report

Editorial Staff 11 April 2024

New Twist For UBS, Credit Suisse In Georgian Billionaire Case – Report

The case – being heard in Singapore – which has embroiled Credit Suisse for years took a new turn this week. The bank is trying to overturn hundreds of millions of dollars in damages it owes to a Georgian billionaire.

When UBS bought Credit Suisse last year, it knew it would inherit legal tangles that its smaller Swiss rival was involved in. One such case – in Singapore – relates to a Georgian billionaire, Bidzina Ivanishvili. A further twist in the case was heard earlier this week.

According to an account of the case by Bloomberg (8 April), a lawyer for a Credit Suisse trust seeking to overturn the $743 million in damages the bank owes to Ivanishvili said the staff responsible did their “incompetent best.”

UBS declined to comment to WealthBriefingAsia about the case when asked yesterday.

Credit Suisse is accused over mishandling rogue banker Patrice Lescaudron. The lead lawyer for Credit Suisse Trust Ltd reportedly told a court in Singapore this week that staff failed to inform their client of the illicit payments Lescaudron had made.

“Put it simply, they were trying to do their incompetent best to address” the unauthorised payments, Lee Eng Beng is quoted as saying at the hearing at the Singapore Court of Appeal. They went to their superiors about Lescaudron but the one thing they didn’t do by 30 March 2008 was to let Ivanishvili know, he said.

Lee and his team are seeking to have the award cut after a lower court ruled earlier that the bank’s trust had failed to safeguard Ivanishvili’s assets. It was revised down from an initial $926 million.

It is claimed that the trust failed to prevent Lescaudron from having any further access to the trust assets. Lescaudron was convicted in 2018 for running a fraudulent scheme in which he took money from Ivanishvili’s accounts to try and mask growing losses in other Russian clients’ portfolios. (See previous reports here and here.)

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