LONDON, UK – (ARAB NEWSWIRE) — The UK Commercial Court on Friday dismissed a second case brought by the Libyan Investment Authority against businessman Walid Giahmi, a defendant in the $US 200 million case the LIA brought against Credit Suisse and three other defendants. See Case No: CL-2019-000691 with Neutral Citation Number:  EWHC 2684 (Comm) that was presided at THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE BUSINESS AND PROPERTY COURTS OF ENGLAND AND WALES COMMERCIAL COURT (QBD) at the Royal Courts of Justice, Rolls Building, Fetter Lane, London, EC4A 1NL .
Mr Justice Pelling QC said the LIA had “no real prospect of success” of showing that it had lodged its claims in a timely manner, a similar finding to that reached by Mr Justice Bryan in a 2019 ruling on the LIA vs J.P. Morgan. The LIA lost an appeal on the J.P. Morgan judgement but Counsel for the LIA indicated to the Court on Friday that the LIA will not be appealing the Credit Suisse decision.
This likely means an end to the LIA’s seven-year largely fruitless pursuit of major international banks over investments placed with them on the eve of or the early stages of the 2007-8 global financial crisis.
“It is time that the Libyan Investment Authority concentrates on Libya,” Mr Giahmi said. “This decision should mean an end to the fortunes spent on London lawyers in preference to Libyan schools, hospitals and basic necessities.”
Costs involved in the Credit Suisse case were described as “eye-watering” in last week’s hearing, with the LIA having to meet a large proportion of defendant’s costs, which included some penalty costs for pursuing a case said in the hearing to meet a standard of being “speculative, weak, opportunistic and thin.”
In April 2019, the Libyan Government disclosed that the LIA had already spent more than €500 million on legal fees in litigation against global banks and contesting control over the LIA.
Mr Giahmi has consistently denied allegations that he bribed or intimidated LIA employees to obtain approvals for investments made by the LIA or that he influenced appointments to the LIA or channelled bribes to the Libyan dictator’s son, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi. An early supporter of the revolution against Muammar Gaddafi, Giahmi maintains that he became the target of retaliation immediately after identifying suspected corrupt former Gaddafi bankers to the leaders of the revolution.
He continued to be targeted as some of Gaddafi’s bankers manoeuvred themselves back into positions of influence in post-revolutionary Libya, with the litigation against Western banks serving “as a useful distraction” against questions about missing money during the Gaddafi era and continuing corruption in current day Libya.
“The allegations against me date back to 2008 and were the subject of UK, US and Swiss regulatory inquiries which produced no adverse findings,” he said. “The LIA has continually recycled the same allegations, but withdrew the case when they had the opportunity to have them determined by a court.
“This has deprived me of the opportunity for me to clear myself, or for the courts to consider the mass of information I have provided on banking and financial corruption from the time of the Gaddafi regime on. If the parties involved wanted to respond to the material I have presented to the courts, they have had every opportunity to respond in specifics and in detail – and they haven’t.”
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