22/06/2022 • Finews

Bermuda Claims Against Credit Suisse Now More Precisely Defined

The estimates of the losses suffered by a Georgian billionaire in a Bermuda fraud case have now been more precisely quantified.

Ex-Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili lost an estimated US$607 million in a fraud case involving Switzerland’s second-largest bank, «Bloomberg» reported Wednesday. That amount more precisely determines the amount of the loss, which Credit Suisse estimated to be around $600 million in its first-quarter report.

Credit Suisse’s attorney for Credit Suisse Life (Bermuda) didn’t dispute the estimate, and instead only tried to limit which accounts compensation could be paid from, the news service indicated. The Swiss bank didn’t immediately respond to finews.asia’s emailed request for comment.

Shell-Game Losses

Patrice Lescaudron was named as the central player who faked signatures and created dummy portfolio statements in order to illegally transfer millions of dollars, mainly from Ivanishvili, to cover losses in other client portfolios. Lescaudron was convicted in 2018 for fraud and forgery.

Ivanishvili was a Credit Suisse client from 2005 to 2015, and Lescaudron was appointed to handle his investments in 2006.

In March, a Bermuda court ruled against an offshore Credit Suisse insurance unit in favor of Ivanishvili, claiming the bank had turned a «blind eye» by not taking adequate action to prevent Lescaudron’s fraudulent activities. Ivanishvili was awarded damages to be paid by the bank.

Lone Wolf

Credit Suisse has repeatedly insisted that Lescaudron – who was released from prison early only to commit suicide in 2020 – was a lone actor with no support from any other employee at the bank. But under Swiss law, lacking the necessary surveillance or organization to prevent acts of money laundering can be itself charged as money laundering.

A prosecutor in Switzerland has alleged around US$60 million was laundered through the Swiss bank in the case, citing eight transactions the bank allegedly let slide from 2008 to 2014. The prosecutor alleged a lack of oversight of Lescaudron and organizational defaults allowed money laundering to occur. A formal indictment could be months away as Swiss courts process the evidence in the case.

Last week, Credit Suisse issued a statement on the Swiss case: «All investigations into this matter conducted by the bank, FINMA and the criminal authorities since 2015 have shown that the former relationship manager was not supported by any other employee of Credit Suisse in his criminal activities.» The bank added: «In the concluded criminal proceedings against the former relationship manager, he was not convicted of money laundering.»

Ivanishvili is seeking a further US$300 million in the Singapore case which had been set to go on trial in September.

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