(Updates with LIA statement, adds quote)
March 30 Libya's sovereign wealth fund has filed
a $1.5 billion lawsuit against Societe Generale,
accusing it of funnelling bribes worth tens of millions of
dollars to associates of Saif al-Islam, the son of former Libyan
leader Muammar Gaddafi.
"Societe Generale contests the unfounded allegations in the
Libyan Investment Authority's (LIA) complaint," a spokeswoman
for France's second-biggest bank said in an emailed statement,
without giving more details.
The LIA said it had filed its lawsuit against the bank in
London's High Court. (link.reuters.com/sur97v)
The LIA alleges that SocGen paid at least $58 million to
Leinada, a Panamanian-registered company, for advisory services
related to $2.1 billion of derivative trades that the Libyan
sovereign wealth fund entered into with SocGen between late 2007
The LIA's legal filing claims that Leinada did not have the
expertise to advise or structure such deals.
"The payments were purportedly for advisory support,
including around structuring the transactions, though the legal
papers highlight that the descriptions of the services provided
were deliberately opaque and inconsistent, and the nature and
scale of the remuneration was hidden from the LIA," it said.
The LIA said it had suffered heavy losses in the deals with
SocGen, and was seeking to have the trades voided to recoup the
money allegedly paid to Leinada and to be awarded damages for
the alleged fraud.
"This claim, together with the one against Goldman Sachs
that was initiated in January 2014, reflects the desire of the
LIA's new board of directors to redress previous wrongs and seek
the recovery of these substantial funds as it seeks to invest
and generate wealth for the people of Libya," the statement
quoted AbdulMagid Breish, chairman of the LIA, as saying.
(Reporting by Aashika Jain in Bangalore, William Maclean in
Dubai; Editing by Eric Walsh and Mark Potter)