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Credit Suisse has paid Georgian billionaire US$210 mil

Bloomberg
Bloomberg • 2 min read
Credit Suisse has paid Georgian billionaire US$210 mil
Georgian tycoon Bidzina Ivanishvili sued the bank’s trust unit for US$800 million in damages and lost income. Photo: Bloomberg
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Credit Suisse Group AG says it has paid US$210 million ($280.2 million) to date to billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili in a long-running legal saga.

The bank has paid in the sum “over time for the proceedings across all the plaintiff’s accounts,” a spokesperson for the Swiss lender said by email. The statement didn’t break out a figure for an ongoing trial in Singapore.

The statement is the most detailed admission yet of how much the legal wrangling is costing Credit Suisse globally and emerged amid closing arguments at a two-day hearing in Singapore, which will mark the end of a trial that began in September.

Georgian tycoon Bidzina Ivanishvili sued the bank’s trust unit for US$800 million in damages and lost income he said he would have made over the years if his money had been safely invested. Patrice Lescaudron was convicted in 2018 for fraud over a scheme he ran to take money from Ivanishvili’s accounts to cover growing losses among other clients’ portfolios.

Lee Eng Beng, a lawyer for the trust, conceded on Thursday that Credit Suisse agreed to compensate Ivanishvili for failing to “police the perimeter” of his wealth from theft by Lescaudron.

There is “a duty to compensate for that loss,” he said in his closing arguments, as he sought to limit any broader fallout. “The duty does not extend to any liability for any losses from investment activity in relation to the assets managed in the trust account,” he added.

See also: OCBC expands programme to equip another 10,000 elderly with digital banking skills and scam prevention awareness

Bermuda Ruling

The stakes for the Singapore trial are high. Ivanishvili in March won a US$607 million judgment from a Bermuda court, which ruled a local Credit Suisse life insurance unit there had turned a “blind eye” to Lescaudron’s fraud. CS Life is appealing that decision.

Separate negotiations between the two sides appear to have stalled, according to a statement the Georgian put out in late January. The bank had initiated discussions but those were now little more than an “illusion of negotiations,” according to the release.

Representatives for Credit Suisse and Ivanishvili declined to comment ahead of the hearing.

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