ZURICH - A Credit Suisse Group unit has been ordered by a Singapore court to compensate billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili for what may well be hundreds of millions of dollars, in yet another setback for the bank in its legal battle with the former prime minister of Georgia.
Singapore-based Credit Suisse Trust breached its duty to the plaintiffs in failing to safeguard the trust assets, according to a judgment posted on Friday.
The court assessed his damages at US$926 million (S$1.25 billion), a figure it then revised downward by US$79.4 million. However, the court also said that amount could be further subject to change “so as to ensure there is no double recovery” given that a Bermuda court last year awarded Mr Ivanishvili more than US$600 million in damages in the case.
“The loss suffered by the plaintiffs is the difference between what would have been achieved if the whole portfolio had been removed and managed by a competent, professional trustee and the trust assets were not affected by fraud, and what was actually achieved,” the judge wrote in a 248-page verdict.
The ruling marks a major setback for Credit Suisse after Mr Ivanishvili sued the bank’s trust unit for damages and lost income he said he would have made over the years if his money had been safely invested.
The judgment highlighted the bank trust’s failure to prevent private banker Patrice Lescaudron from having any further access to the Trust assets. 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.
If the parties are unable to reach agreement on costs and or interest, they should file an agreed timeline for submissions on this matter by no later than June 30, according to the judgment.
Mr Cavinder Bull from Drew & Napier was lead counsel for Mr Ivanishvili. Mr Lee Eng Beng from Rajah & Tann and Allen & Gledhill represented the trust. BLOOMBERG