JPMorgan Faces Lawsuit From Qaddafi's Libyan Investment Fund

(Bloomberg) -- The Libyan Investment Authority filed a lawsuit against JPMorgan Chase & Co. in a London court in what could be the beginning of a flurry of cases against major banks.

The LIA, an oil-wealth fund set up under former Libyan dictator Moammar Qaddafi, filed Friday against JPMorgan and businessman Walid Al-Giahmi. The suit is described as a “commercial fraud” claim in the court docket.

While the lawsuit documents haven’t been made available, it likely relates to transactions with Bear Stearns, which JPMorgan bought in 2008, after a judge last year granted permission for LIA to apply to see paperwork.

A spokeswoman for JPMorgan declined to comment. George Prassas, a spokesman for LIA, confirmed the filing. Lawyers for the Libyan fund didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Three more banks also may come into LIA’s firing line. The fund was granted permission in November 2017 to see documents disclosed in a settled dispute with Societe Generale SA. The LIA wanted to use documents from that case to consider claims against JPMorgan, Commerzbank, Credit Suisse Group AG and BNP Paribas SA. The case against Commerzbank would likely relate to Dresdner Bank, which Commerzbank took over in 2009.

SocGen paid nearly 1 billion euros ($1.2 billion) in May to settle a lawsuit over claims the bank paid a bribe to Giahmi to arrange deals. The Libyans say Giahmi may have acted “in the same way” on five sets of transactions involving other lenders, according to filings.

The case is The Libyan Investment Authority v. JPMorgan Chase & Co & Others, High Court of Justice, Business and Property Courts, Case No. CL-2018-000228.

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