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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 September 2018

Libyan Investment Fund files lawsuit against JPMorgan in London

The Libyan fund may pursue legal action against other major banks

The Libyan Investment Authority has filed a lawsuit against JPMorgan Chase in a London court. Mike Segar / Reuters
The Libyan Investment Authority has filed a lawsuit against JPMorgan Chase in a London court. Mike Segar / Reuters

The Libyan Investment Authority filed a lawsuit against JPMorgan Chase in a London court in what could be the beginning of a flurry of cases against major banks.

The LIA, an oil-wealth fund set up under former Libyan leader Moammar Qaddafi, filed Friday against JPMorgan and businessman Walid Al-Giahmi. The suit is described as a “commercial fraud” claim in the court docket.

While the lawsuit documents haven’t been made available, it likely relates to transactions with Bear Stearns, which JPMorgan bought in 2008, after a judge last year granted permission for LIA to apply to see paperwork.

A spokeswoman for JPMorgan declined to comment. George Prassas, a spokesman for LIA, confirmed the filing. Lawyers for the Libyan fund didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Three more banks also may come into LIA’s firing line. The fund was granted permission in November 2017 to see documents disclosed in a settled dispute with Societe Generale. The LIA wanted to use documents from that case to consider claims against JPMorgan, Commerzbank, Credit Suisse and BNP Paribas. The case against Commerzbank would likely relate to Dresdner Bank, which Commerzbank took over in 2009.

SocGen paid nearly 1 billion euros ($1.2 billion) in May to settle a lawsuit over claims the bank paid a bribe to Mr Giahmi to arrange deals. The Libyans say Mr Giahmi may have acted “in the same way” on five sets of transactions involving other lenders, according to filings.

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