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Former Credit Suisse 'star' gets five years in jail for fraud

From Reuters - February 9, 2018

GENEVA (Reuters) - Former Credit Suisse client adviser Patrice Lescaudron was sentenced to five years imprisonment by a Geneva court on Friday for abusing the trust of clients and putting in place a fraudulent scheme that brought him tens of millions of francs.

Lescaudron, who is French, appeared in court for the verdict wearing a grey fleece sweatshirt emblazoned with Ferrari, the name of the Italian sports car he was said to have purchased with the money he amassed.

Judge Alexandra Banna said the ex-banker was guilty of serious fraud and forgery in his handling of former clients, including former Georgia Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili and Russian oligarch Vitaly Malkin, over a very long period of eight years.

Reading the three-judge tribunals verdict, she said he had caused losses totalling 143 million Swiss francs ($152 million) and made personal gains of 30 million francs.

The adviser was considered as a star on the banks Russia desk, but had fooled the bank and the client through a clever fraud in which he copy-pasted signatures on documents so as to falsify transfer orders, Banna said.

Lescaudron, 54, admitted in court to having falsified trades and hidden mounting losses.

CRIMINAL ENERGY

Lawyers for billionaire Ivanishvili have said that fraudulent activities by the adviser lost the former Georgian leader hundreds of millions of dollars.

Zurich-based Credit Suisse has said Lescaudron violated internal rules and Swiss law and worked to conceal these actions from the bank.

The former relationship manager demonstrated a high degree of criminal energy, violating internal controls and rules as well as Swiss law and concealing his criminal activities from Credit Suisse colleagues, the bank said in January.

Two years of criminal investigation have not revealed any indication that the former relationship manager was helped with his criminal actions by other Credit Suisse employees.

But lawyers for Ivanishvili have said Lescaudron was not a lone wolf, saying senior management had knowledge of his activity and that the bank did not take action but instead continued to charge commission payments on the products sold. They said in August that Ivanishvili was suing Credit Suisse.

Maurice Harari, a lawyer for Ivanishvili, was quoted by the Swiss daily Le Temps as telling the court during the pleadings: Surveillance was not insufficient, it was non-existent.

VAST FORTUNES

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