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Credit Suisse wins legal battle over £45m structured product loss

Credit Suisse wins legal battle over £45m structured product loss

Credit Suisse has fended off an appeal in the High Court over a client’s investment in structured products that led to a €69.4 million (£44.1 million) loss.

Judges Patten and Rix ruled against an appeal by Soheir Ahmed Zaki, the widow of investor Mohamed Magdy Zeid, against an October 2011 verdict in favour of Credit Suisse.

They found in favour of Credit Suisse despite the earlier ruling’s finding that the investment bank’s processes ‘lacked the rigour and care which [Financial Services Authority] conduct of business rules required’.

‘The question of process did not ultimately determine the issue of suitability,’ said Rix, in referencing the earlier judgment. ‘Regulatory failures in obtaining information might support a case of unsuitability, but they were not sufficient proof of it.’

Rix rules that the degree of leverage involved in the investments, which ranged between 75% and 80% for some, was ‘aggressive’, but not unsuitable, as Zeid understood leverage risks and was able to bear them due to his strong and liquid financial position.

Meanwhile, in a separate case Credit Suisse is set to return to the courts in another dispute over its structured product advice. Judge Teare has ruled against the investment bank’s application for summary judgment against an appeal by Camerata, an investment vehicle owned by Charalambos Ventouris, a member of the Greek shipowning family, over advice to invest €13.7 million in structured products.

Camerata has alleged three structured products it was advised to buy were mis-sold as they were too risky, given Ventouris’ claimed risk aversion.

Judge Teare has allowed Ventouris’ claim to proceed in court, although the judge stated it was unlikely the claim would win.

Ventouris previously claimed against Credit Suisse for advice to invest $12 million in a Lehman Brothers structured product. The claim was dismissed earlier in 2012 as the judge ruled that it had not been obvious to Siakotos-Konstantinidis that Ventouris was strongly adverse to risk, making the product unsuitable.

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