A United Kingdom court has ruled in favor of Goldman Sachs in a $1.2 billion dollar case brought by the the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) regarding nine disputed equity derivatives trades, according to a spokesperson for Goldman Sachs.
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The LIA said that it was disappointed in the decision by Judge Vivien Rose, saying in response: "Time will be needed fully to digest the judgment and all options are being considered at this time." Some sources said that an appeal should be expected.
The trial had run for seven weeks in London's High Court over the summer. The LIA had argued that the trades were secured through "undue influence" and "unconscionable bargaining". The LIA also argued that its members were too unsophisticated to understand what it was they were buying and Goldman had abused its position as a trusted adviser by taking advantage of this inexperience. The members of the LIA had been appointed by the Gadaffi regime, and not on the basis of merit or qualifications, it was argued. Goldman Sachs blamed the "unforeseen financial depression" of 2008 for the LIA losses, and not any wrongdoing by the bank. It described the suit against it as "buyer's remorse". The trades were between January and April of 2008.
Some of the "undue influence" employed by Goldman Sachs is described in a Guardian article: "Goldman Sachs bankers paid for prostitutes, private jets and five-star hotels and held business meetings on yachts to win business from a Libyan investment fund set up under Gaddafi regime, the high court in London was told yesterday." While LIA lost almost all its investment through the trades, Goldman Sachs generated profits of over $200 million through them, according to Roger Masefield a lawyer to the LIA. As shown on the appended video, Goldman Sachs already was hit with a $5 billion dollar fine by the US justice department in April this year for misleading investors.
The LIA is pursuing a separate case as well against the French investment bank Societe General. The suit is for $2.1 billion US in relation to another group of trades between 2007 and 2009. The bank is contesting the case which is not expected to come to trial until April of next year.