The long-running court battle between the bank and the billionaire has taken a new turn in the Asian city-state. Credit Suisse said it intends to fight the ruling.
A Singapore court has ordered a unit of Credit Suisse to pay Georgian billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili what is set be hundreds of millions of dollars, media reports said. The Swiss bank, which is in the process of being taken over by UBS, said it intends to appeal the ruling.
The court put damages at $926 million, minus deductions for an earlier settlement, Bloomberg and other media outlets said. The amount will be further revised down “to ensure there is no double recovery” after a Bermuda court last year awarded Ivanishvili more than $600 million in damages in that case.
This news service has contacted Credit Suisse for comment. The bank was quoted by Bloomberg as saying: “The judgment published today is wrong and poses very significant legal issues." The trust intends to “vigorously pursue an appeal”.
According to the ruling, Singapore-based Credit Suisse Trust Ltd breached its duty to the plaintiffs in failing to safeguard the trust assets.
A spokesman for Ivanishvili said he welcomes the verdict and expects the bank to comply with the judgment and “finally accept responsibility for its failures.” “Despite the judgment in Bermuda last year and the admission of its breach of duty during the Singapore trial, Credit Suisse continued to frustrate our client's efforts to seek redress for the crimes committed by its personnel.” he said.
The judgment highlighted the trust’s failure to prevent private banker Patrice 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 an earlier report on the matter from this news service.)
His increasingly outsized bets using the Georgian’s money spectacularly backfired in 2015, exposing not just his fraud but also over time the cavalier way that his managers at Credit Suisse oversaw the banker-turned-fraudster, the news service said.
Such issues highlight how Credit Suisse became increasingly embattled in recent years over a series of scandals and missteps, leading up to its eventual UBS takeover at the behest of the Swiss authorities.