A Singapore court has ordered Swiss bank Credit Suisse to pay $926 million to Bidzina Ivanishvili, the former prime minister of Georgia, for the loss of a portion of his fortune. This ruling represents one of the largest financial awards made against Credit Suisse.
The court found that a unit of the bank had acted in bad faith and failed to safeguard Ivanishvili's assets, resulting in substantial losses. Credit Suisse has immediately announced its intention to appeal the decision.
The case revolves around Ivanishvili entrusting $1.1 billion to Credit Suisse Trust in 2005. The court ruled that the bank's failure to prevent Patrice Lescaudron, an advisor at Credit Suisse Trust in Singapore, from accessing Ivanishvili's assets was a breach of its core obligation to protect them. Lescaudron, who was convicted in 2018 for forging signatures of former clients, including Ivanishvili, and engaging in fraudulent activities, was responsible for substantial financial losses. Judge Patricia Bergin criticised Credit Suisse for prioritising Lescaudron's role in retaining a high-value client over fulfilling its obligation to safeguard the assets.
Credit Suisse has been ordered to pay $926 million, which will be reduced by $79 million already paid in December. In March 2022, a Bermuda court ruled that Ivanishvili and his family are entitled to damages of approximately $600 million from Credit Suisse's local life insurance arm. The court aims to avoid a double recovery, and Credit Suisse is currently appealing the Bermuda decision.
Credit Suisse has stated that it will appeal the Singapore ruling, arguing that the compensation should be related to investment losses rather than solely fraudulent activities. The bank's ongoing legal challenges and the substantial financial implications of these cases further compound the troubles faced by Credit Suisse, which is already undergoing a takeover by UBS.
Ivanishvili's spokesperson expressed satisfaction with the Singapore decision and called on Credit Suisse to accept responsibility for its failures.