Former Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili has won a long-running battle with Credit Suisse to recoup funds stolen by a former employee of the Swiss bank, according to individuals with knowledge of the case.
Credit Suisse stated on Wednesday evening that a court in Bermuda could order the bank to pay more than $500 million if a verdict against the banks’ local life insurance business is published.
The Bermuda court is expected to issue its verdict next week, but sources familiar with the issue stated that it was related to Ivanishvili’s complaint and that the court ruled in his favour.
In a statement, the bank said, “Credit Suisse has previously taken reserves against this problem and intends to pursue all available legal proceedings.”
Moreover, the bank said in January that it had put aside SFr436 million ($469 million) in the fourth quarter of 2021 to cover legal settlements but that they were primarily related to its investment banking division.
“We will evaluate whether any additional reserves are required as part of our first-quarter results due to be published on April 27, 2022,” it added on Wednesday. The bank refuses to provide any additional information.
By the time of publishing, Ivanishvili had declined to comment, and the Bermuda court had not responded to demands for comment.
The dispute between billionaire Ivanishvili and Credit Suisse dates back to 2011 when he was a private banking client of the firm.
Credit Suisse private banker Patrice Lescaudron defrauded some of the Swiss bank’s most sensitive accounts, including those held by Ivanishvili and Russian oligarch Vitaly Malkin, for more than a decade, funding a lavish lifestyle of luxury houses, sports cars, Rolex watches, and Chanel jewellery gifts.
A report into the affair by the Swiss regulator Finma, which was inadvertently made public last month, found repeated warning signs, evidence of hundreds of suspicious transactions and four formal disciplinary proceedings were not acted upon by Credit Suisse.
In November and December of last year, Ivanishvili filed various criminal complaints in Switzerland and sued Credit Suisse’s Bermuda subsidiary in a trial before the country’s top court.
Lescaudron was a highly accomplished rogue operator who worked relentlessly to disguise his illicit activities from supervisors and coworkers, according to Credit Suisse. He was legally convicted in 2018 and died by suicide in 2020 following an early release. The bank was judged to be a wrongdoer in the Swiss criminal action against Lescaudron.