Singapore Court Orders Credit Suisse Unit To Pay Georgia Ex-PM $743m

A Singapore court on Tuesday ordered Credit Suisse to pay $743 million to Georgian billionaire and ex-prime minister Bidzina Ivanishvili for failing to safeguard his assets, revising down the amount awarded in an earlier judgment.

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The judgment is yet another setback for the bank, which was taken over by its rival UBS, Switzerland’s largest 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 had resulted in investment losses for the billionaire.

Credit Suisse Group’s Singapore business, Credit Suisse Trust Ltd, was sued in the city-state.

The court ordered the bank unit to pay Ivanishvili $926 million in May, but the sum was reduced on Tuesday to account for a previous settlement and to avoid “double recovery,” according to the judgment.

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 investigation has centered on the involvement of Ivanishvili’s relationship manager, Patrice Lescaudron, who was sentenced to five years in jail in 2018 by Swiss authorities on allegations of fraud and forgery.

Credit Suisse approached Ivanishvili in late 2004 to offer him asset management services, shortly after the billionaire and his business partner sold a $1.6 billion metallurgical complex in Russia.

According to the May judgment, Ivanishvili agreed to deposit more than $1 billion into a trust established in 2005 for inheritance planning and asset keeping.

Lescaudron, on the other hand, plundered millions of dollars over the next nine years until his crime was detected in 2015, according to the May verdict.

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