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Major LIA mandate for Enyo ends as SocGen settlement reached

The Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) represented by Enyo Law, has settled its longstanding dispute against Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) client Societe Generale (SocGen) and Mishcon de Reya client Walid Giamhi.

The LIA had sued Libyan businessman Walid Giahmi in 2014 in connection with an alleged $58m bribe paid to him by SocGen. The LIA has been fighting a number of cases to recoup losses made on deals during the financial crisis, including a separate action against American bank Goldman Sachs, which was dismissed after a two month trial last year.

But the LIA has now withdrawn its case against SocGen and Giamhi, and is liable for Giamhi’s costs. The LIA’s case was discontinued on the second day of trial, before oral openings could take place.

Giamhi was represented by Mishcon’s head of fraud defence Kathryn Garbett, with Enyo Law’s Simon Twigden acting for the LIA. HSF advised the French bank with a team led by Rupert Lewis.

Garbett, who described the LIA’s case as a ‘baseless conspiracy theory’, commented: ‘Giahmi provided full disclosure of all of his financial records and telephone communications dating back to 2006, which showed no illegal payments at all. Giahmi was also forced to seek confidentiality protection for the identities of other individuals in Libya giving evidence in the proceedings because of the risks to their lives and the lives of their families. The court agreed to impose these protective measures in the face of opposition from the LIA.

‘Giahmi is relieved that these proceedings, which had been brought in breach of Libyan Law, have come to an end.’

The LIA has been a key client for Enyo Law, which has advised it on this claim as well as LIA’s failed $1bn claim against Goldman Sachs over nine large financial derivative transactions that lost over 90% of their value.

In a statement Societe Generale said: ‘Societe Generale and the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) jointly announce that they have signed a confidential settlement agreement that resolves all matters between both parties concerning five financial transactions entered into between 2007 and 2009 that have been the subject of legal action in the English High Court. The terms of the settlement are confidential. Societe Generale wishes to place on record its regret about the lack of caution of some of its employees. Societe Generale apologises to the LIA and hopes that the challenges faced at this difficult time in Libya’s development are soon overcome.’

Twigden’s team on the case consisted of Brick Court Chambers’ Mark Howard QC, Roger Masefield QC, Richard Blakeley and Craig Morrison. Lewis instructed 3 Verulum Buildings’ Adrian Beltrami QC, Nathaniel Bird and Emmanuel Sheppard alongside One Essex Court’s Sandy Phipps QC and Anthony de Garr Robinson QC. Garbett was supported in her defence of Giahmi by fellow fraud Mishcon defence partner Claire Broadbelt, and instructed Maitland Chambers’ Paul Girolami QC.