Former Georgia Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili (Source: Facebook account).

SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE — A Singapore court on Friday ordered Credit Suisse to pay an ex-Georgian prime minister US$926 million for failing in its duty to safeguard his assets, in another blow to the fallen banking giant.

Credit Suisse was bought by its rival UBS, Switzerland’s biggest bank, in March to prevent a financial collapse following a series of scandals.

Former Georgia Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili had sued Credit Suisse in Singapore, New Zealand and Bermuda, blaming the bank for fraudulent mismanagement that led to the billionaire suffering investment losses.

The lawsuit in the city-state was filed against Credit Suisse Group’s Singapore subsidiary, Credit Suisse Trust Ltd.

In a decision released Friday, the Singapore International Commercial Court ruled in favour of Ivanishvili and ordered him compensated.

“That amount as presently calculated to the date of trial is USD 926 million,” international judge Patricia Bergin said in a decision.

Bergin added that as a result of a settlement, the amount “should be reduced by USD 79,430,773.”

Credit Suisse said in a statement it will appeal the decision.

“The judgment published today is wrong and poses very significant legal issues,” it said.

The court said Credit Suisse failed in its duty to safeguard Ivanishvili’s assets from fraudulent transactions by his relationship manager Patrice Lescaudron, who was sentenced by Swiss authorities to five years in prison in 2018 on charges of fraud and forgery.

Credit Suisse had approached Ivanishvili in late 2004 to offer him wealth-management services just after the billionaire and his business partner sold a metallurgical complex in Russia for US$1.6 billion.

Ivanishvili agreed to deposit more than US$1 billion into a trust set up in 2005 for inheritance planning and asset holding, the judgement said.

Lescaudron, however, misappropriated millions of dollars over the next nine years until 2015 when his fraud was exposed, according to the judgement.

— AFP

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