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Credit Suisse hit with $900m Singapore judgment

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Top judge: justice Patricia Bergin AO, SC, International Judge, Singapore International Commercial Court (Photograph supplied)

Ordered by the Bermuda Supreme Court to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to a defrauded Georgian billionaire, the embattled Swiss bank, Credit Suisse, has now met a similar fate in a related case in Singapore, Bloomberg has reported.

A judgment made public Friday by the Singapore International Commercial Court determined that Singapore-based Credit Suisse Trust Ltd. breached its duty in failing to safeguard the trust assets of Mr Bidzina Ivanishvili’s accounts.

Bloomberg reported that the court assessed damages at $926 million, minus deductions for an earlier $79.4 million settlement.

The amount could be further subject to change “so as to ensure there is no double recovery” given last year’s Bermuda court award to Ivanishvili of more than $600 million in damages in the related case.

It was a Bermuda unit of the bank found to be at fault when Ivanishvili won the $607 million judgment handed down by Chief Justice Narinder Hargun, who ruled that Credit Suisse Life (Bermuda) had turned a blind eye to their own personnel’s fraudulent management of Mr Ivanishvili’s accounts.

CS Life has appealed that Bermuda decision, although it has previously been reported that more than $200 million has already been paid into Mr Ivanishvili’s accounts.

In Singapore, Judge Patricia Bergin wrote in her 248-page verdict: “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.”

Bloomberg quoted a Credit Suisse spokesperson: “The (Singapore) judgment published today is wrong and poses very significant legal issues.”

The statement added the trust company intends to “vigorously pursue an appeal”.

A spokesman for Ivanishvili was not immediately available to comment.

Even before the latest ruling, much has changed for Credit Suisse since the first loss to Ivanishvili in the Bermuda court more than a year ago.

The bank has suffered a conviction for money-laundering in Switzerland and other scandals that weakened it further, and was later forced to accept a government-brokered takeover by banking rival UBS Group AG, a deal now on the verge of closing.

No comment: Bidzina Ivanishvili, former Prime Minister of Georgia and billionaire litigant in case against Credit Suisse (File photograph)

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Published May 29, 2023 at 7:57 am (Updated May 29, 2023 at 7:14 am)

Credit Suisse hit with $900m Singapore judgment

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