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The Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) and Goldman Sachs began a $1.2 billion court battle this week over claims that Goldman Sachs exploited Libya’s Sovereign wealth fund by encouraging it to make risky and worthless investments.
The LIA claims that the trades in question took place under what it calls “undue influence”. In all, the LIA wants the return of some $1.2 billion from nine trades in 2008.
Libya created the LIA in 2006 in order to invest funds from its oil reserves and to become a part of the international financial system. The anti-corruption group Global Witness released an internal LIA management report in 2011 showing that the fund has suffered heavy losses, including a 98.5 percent drop in the funds equity and currency derivatives portfolio.
As the trial got underway Monday, lawyers for the LIA stated that Goldman Sachs took advantage of the naiveté of the LIA, causing the loss. Lawyers for the LIA produced an email from 2008 calling the LIA very unsophisticated. Another note from the bank’s vice president spoke of delivering a pitch on structured leverage loans to a person living with his camels in the middle of the desert.
Goldman is disputing the claim, calling it “both unusual and ambitious”. They claim that the bank chose the underlying stocks via its own research. Lawyers for Goldman Sachs claim that the LIA was instead affected by the credit crisis and the impact it had on the global market, rather than by any wrongdoing on the part of Goldman Sachs.
The bank is not the only institution involved in a suit by the LIA. The Authority is also suing French bank Societe Generale for approximately $2.1 billion in relation to trades between 2007 and 2009.
By Lincoln Brown for Oilprice.com
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Lincoln Brown is the former News and Program Director for KVEL radio in Vernal, Utah. He hosted “The Lincoln Brown Show” and was penned a…