A fund management company has today secured victory in a four-year legal fight against its former chief executive, who was accused of receiving bribes totalling around £18m from a Libyan sovereign wealth fund and using them to bankroll a lavish lifestyle.
In FMCP v Marino & Others, Frederic Marino had been accused by London-based FM Capital Partners (FMCP) of defrauding the company by conspiring with another employee, Yoshiki Ohmura, to divert funds to offshore accounts.
At the relevant time, during Colonel Gaddafi’s Libyan regime in 2009, FMCP was managing a £441m sovereign wealth fund, the Libya Africa Investment Portfolio (LAP).
It was alleged Marino defrauded FMCP by conspiring with Ohmura to divert funds away to offshore companies and accounts. The court heard during the trial that Marino blew company cash on clothes, restaurant bills and a helicopter ride – and ran up a £165,000 bill at the five-star Lanesborough Hotel in London, including more than £40,000 on parking.
The High Court ruled this morning that Marino and Ohmura are liable to reimburse FMCP. The amount FMCP will be able to recover will be decided at a hearing later this month, but is expected to amount to be around $25m (£18m).
After discovering the wrongdoing in 2014, FMCP dismissed Marino for gross misconduct and began its legal challenge – represented by international firm Hogan Lovells.
Crispin Rapinet, Head of Hogan Lovells’ global investigations, white collar and fraud practice, said today: ‘Today’s judgment reinforces the consequences of engaging in serious fraud. The ruling is an important step forward in the ongoing global fight against bribery and corruption.’
Roger Turner, chief executive of FMCP said: ‘We welcome this judgment and I am very pleased to see justice being delivered against Marino and Ohmura for their fraudulent scheme against FMCP. I am ambitious for FMCP and want to see us continue to grow as a business investing the vast fund provided by Libya for the Libyan people.’
FMCP was represented by Hogan Lovells, instructing Nathan Pillow QC and Anton Dudnikov of Essex Court Chambers.
Marino was represented by James Couser of Three Stone Buildings, instructed by Richard Slade of Richard Slade & Company. Ohmura was represented by Laurence Emmett and James Fox of One Essex Court, instructed by Cooke Young & Keidan.
A spokesperson for Richard Slade said: ’Mr Marino is extremely disappointed by the outcome of the case and is considering with his legal team the steps he should now take to vindicate his position.’