In response to the ongoing failures at Green Vals Trust, the beneficiaries have filed a lawsuit in the Guernsey Court alleging significant failures and political pressure by the Trustee appointed by Credit Suisse. The lawsuit was the result of serious violations of the Trustee's obligations concerning the management of the beneficiaries' assets and disregarding the lawful interests of the client. The beneficiaries had raised those breaches a number of times in letters sent to the Trustee, which also confirmed that the Trust had been proposed and instituted by Credit Suisse to protect the interests of the beneficiaries and ensure disbursement as required.
On 4th March 2022, the beneficiaries requested a disbursement which the Trustee authorized only on 4th of April 2022, causing financial damage to the beneficiaries. During that time, the Trustee made unreasonable requests for information and referenced the "geopolitical environment in Eastern Europe" as justification for the delay, thereby failing to operate its primary function – managing the trust assets in the best interests of the beneficiaries. The beneficiaries have no links to Russia's invasion of Ukraine and have not been subject to any sanctions. Bidzina Ivanishvili, the former Prime Minister of Georgia, holds dual nationality with France and Georgia only, is not and cannot be in any manner related to the list of sanctioned organizations and individuals. This information is publicly available and yet the Trustee failed to make even basic checks and suggests that Mr. Ivanishvili has not only been discriminated against by the Trust but is also subject to a campaign of political pressure by Credit Suisse.
The failed instruction of 4th March 2022 was not an isolated case. The same methods were utilized following the client's instruction of 14th April 2022, when the client issued written instructions for a further distribution of funds and included information to address outstanding issues. Despite this, the disbursement remains outstanding in violation of the rights of the beneficiaries. The assets managed by the Trustee and the amounts, which were to be distributed, are not related to any of the legal disputes or their outcomes; these assets are separate financial structures.
A spokesperson for Mr. Ivanishvili commented:
"Mr. Ivanishvili is extremely unhappy by how his assets continue to be managed. In fact, we are in a situation when the actions of the Trustee are in total conflict with the purpose and principles of the Trust. The reality is that the actions of the Trustee are contradictory, having no economic rationale and establishing a dangerous precedent. This position of the beneficiaries was clearly established in letters of 14th and 29th April 2022, while the latter was never responded to by the Trustee as it is clear it has nothing left to say. It is most interesting that the Bank is linking its actions or inactions to international politics, taking the form of political pressure or whether this has been driven by other factors. The client has his own explanation for this development and will provide details in due course. This is unrelated to the court disputes between the client and the bank or with the results thereof – the outcomes of the legal disputes are mostly clear and foreseeable."
The global litigation initiated by Mr. Ivanishvili against Credit Suisse and its units has been progressing for many years. On 29th March 2022, the Supreme Court of Bermuda handed down its judgement, fully granting the claims of the Plaintiffs, including Mr. Ivanishvili and his family. It is noteworthy that the Court of Singapore will consider the next chapter of the dispute in September 2022. Considering the similarity between the two cases, it is likely that Mr. Ivanishvili's claims will prove successful.
In addition, Mr. Ivanishvili is continuing to publicize his efforts to seek redress, the purpose of which is to inform the public of the proper assessment of the matter. In the coming weeks, Mr. Ivanishvili is intending to organize a series of press conferences for the international media. These will demonstrate in detail, how Credit Suisse and, in general, the Swiss banking system operate and how unprotected any client could be when investing in the Swiss finance sector. In addition, they will detail what type of investment products are offered to clients for managing investments, including trust structures which restrict the rights of clients and beneficiaries; and how the 'goodwill' of trustees can limit and even prevent access to disbursements. How the Swiss regulator – FINMA – has no effective tools to prevent gross violations in the Swiss banking system; how the Swiss Prosecutors' Office protects the Banks and is unable to hold them to account, instead bring charges only against one individual, described as a 'lone wolf.' The Swiss Judiciary, which ordered the Bank to repay funds confirmed as stolen to clients only once the funds had been recovered from third parties while the Prosecutor had already indicated that the funds should have been returned by the Bank. Despite this, the Bank has not repaid the stolen funds, arguing that these need to be recovered from third persons, including the deceased Relationship Manager.
Mr. Ivanishvili will dedicate each of the meetings with the media to each of the above topics and will break down the myths associated with so-called untainted image of Swiss banking and the judiciary. Alongside with the said topics, Mr. Ivanishvili will specifically speak regarding the recent political pressure and what he has discovered about the Bank and the Trustee.
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