The Rolls Building has missed out on hearing a high-profile international dispute after French bank Société Générale (SocGen) and the Libyan Investment Authority settled their legal battle centring on allegedly fraudulent trades.
The Libyan Investment Authority had sued SocGen in a case concerning five trades that took place between 2007 and 2009.
The case was due to be heard in the English High Court but in a statement yesterday both organisations said a settlement had been reached. Terms of the settlement are confidential.
A spokesperson for SocGen said: ‘SocGen wishes to place on record its regret about the lack of caution of some of its employees. SocGen apologises to the LIA and hopes that the challenges faced at this difficult time in Libya’s development are soon overcome.’
The LIA’s claim, which was for an estimated $1.5bn (£1.2bn), was over the payment of $58m by SocGen to a Panamanian-registered company, Lenaida. At the time Lenaida was controlled by Libyan businessman Walid Giahmi.
Giahmi’s lawyer, Mishcon de Reya’s head of fraud defence Kathryn Garbett, said her client, who has been ‘completely exonerated’, had been subject to serious allegations involving bribery and intimidation for the past three years.
‘Throughout this period, we vigorously defended the allegations, which amounted to nothing more than a baseless conspiracy theory: they should never have been brought at all.
‘During the course of the proceedings, Giahmi provided full disclosure of all of his financial records and telephone communications dating back to 2006, which showed no illegal payments at all. Giahmi is relieved that these proceedings have come to an end.’
The LIA was set up in 2006 as Libya’s status from a pariah state was being lifted. The LIA was represented by specialist disputes firm Enyo Law while SocGen was represented by international firm Herbert Smith Freehills.