(Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff)
On Monday legal counsel for Societe Generale (SocGen), a French investment bank, requested a postponement for the lawsuit filed by the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) against SocGen.
SocGen is being sued for trades it facilitated for the LIA in 2007 and 2009. The lawsuit is for $2.1 billion.
Adrian Beltrami, one of the lawyers representing SocGen, requested the London’s High Court to reschedule the first court appearance from January 23, 2017 to a later day as he claims more time is needed to prepare for the three-month trial.
The LIA filed the lawsuit because it claims the trades were a “fraudulent and corrupt scheme.” One trade involved $58.5 million that was paid to a company registered in Panama called Lenaida which at the time was under the leadership of a Walid Giahmi, a Libyan business man. SocGen has rejected the accusations.
SocGen’s New York office was served a subpoena by the United States Department of Justice requiring the submission of every document the bank has related to business with Libya from 2004 to April 2014. Beltrami said that extra time is needed to balance between the LIA’s lawsuit and the investigation which has stressed his firm’s schedules.
The LIA stated that it saw no need to change the trial’s start date and that SocGen has had ample time to prepare for the trial especially since the date was announced back in November 2014.
Beltrami added that because the Libya, and in turn the LIA, is being led by two rival executives, Hassan Bouhadi and AbdulMagid Breish, an extension would benefit the LIA to allow them resolve internal leadership struggles.
Beltrami further suggested that political instability in Libya can result in executive changes at any time and this will further impact the LIA and the trial. With the new Libyan Government of National Accord “there’s now a risk that both of them is the wrong person and has no authority,” said Beltrami.
When it filed for the lawsuit the LIA stated that the receivership put no risk on the defendants and stated that it saw no reason for changing the triad started date.
The LIA is in another lawsuit with the US investment bank Goldman Sachs for $1.2 billion. This trial is ongoing and has also been filed at the London High Court.