(Bloomberg) -- Billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, who sued a Bermuda unit of Credit Suisse Group AG over fraud committed by a banker-turned-fraudster, suffered losses of $553 million partly due to the life insurance unit’s negligence, a judge ruled. 

The damages for Ivanishvili are still to be calculated by forensic accountants working on the case, Bermuda Supreme Court Chief Justice Narinder Hargun said Tuesday as he handed down his verdict against Credit Suisse Life Bermuda in the island nation’s capital, Hamilton.

CS Life did not take adequate action to prevent Patrice Lescaudron’s “fraudulent management of the policy accounts because it was prioritizing the revenues Mr. Lescaudron generated for Credit Suisse over the interests of its clients,” Hargun said referring to the rogue banker.

“If Mr. Ivanishvili had known that fraudulent transactions had been taking place on his accounts with the bank, he would not have agreed to set up” the policies with CS Life, the judge said.

Credit Suisse Life Bermuda “intends to vigorously pursue” an appeal of the verdict, it said in a statement Tuesday. The Zurich-based bank said last week it had already taken reserves tied to the impending decision against Credit Suisse Life Bermuda which could potentially exceed $500 million in damages.


Still, the scale of the judgment may now embolden Ivanishvili and other victims of convicted fraudster Lescaudron to seek further civil damages in Singapore and Switzerland. 

Geneva’s top financial-crimes prosecutors continues to investigate Credit Suisse for its potential responsibility for failing to stop Lescaudron that could ultimately result in criminal charges and a trial. 

Lescaudron was convicted of fraud by a Swiss court in 2018. Credit Suisse has said the Frenchman, who took his own life, was a lone wolf who hid his fraudulent activity. The Bermuda trial was seen as a test of whether the argument will insulate the bank from future liability.

Read More: Judge Asks Who’s to Blame If Credit Suisse Banker ‘Goes Rogue’

The ruling is the latest in a long series of setbacks for the Zurich-based firm, which is recovering after the twin hits from the collapse of Greensill Capital and Archegos Capital Management. 

(Updates with detail on case from sixth paragraph)

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