Bermudian Court of Appeal dismisses Credit Suisse Life’s appeal in long-running fraud case

3 July, 2023

On 23 June 2023, the Bermudian Court of Appeal (President Sir Christopher Clarke and Justices of Appeal Geoffrey Bell and Sir Anthony Smellie) handed down judgment in the case of Credit Suisse Life (Bermuda) Limited v Bidzina Ivanishvili et al [2023] CA (Bda) 13 Civ. The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal, upholding Chief Justice Hargun’s decision that Credit Suisse Life must pay the Respondents $607.35 million.

The decision arose out of the long running fraud committed by Mr Patrice Lescaudron (a Credit Suisse employee based in Switzerland) against the Respondents, who include Mr Ivanishvili, the former prime minister of Georgia. The Court of Appeal upheld the Chief Justice’s decision that Credit Suisse Life had breached its contractual and fiduciary duties, but overturned his decision that it was also liable in fraudulent misrepresentation. The Court of Appeal further dismissed Credit Suisse Life’s argument that it should consider quantum afresh because the Chief Justice had allegedly failed to give it proper consideration.

Of particular interest:

  • The Judgment contains a consideration of the requirements for an implied misrepresentation claim, as well as of choice of law in the context of misrepresentation claims.
  • The Court of Appeal refused to entertain a new argument raised by Credit Suisse Life for the first time on appeal on the basis it was “comprehensively abusive”: “CS Life should not be able to advance its case one way, and then, when that case is rejected by the trial judge, choose another way that is fundamentally inconsistent with its first case…”

A copy of the judgment is available here.

Louise Hutton KC and Felix Wardle acted for the Respondents, with Richard Morgan KC of Maitland Chambers, instructed by Sarah Rees and Conor Daly of Blake Morgan LLP and Sarah-Jane Hurrion and Henry Komansky of Hurrion & Associates Ltd.

Joe Smouha KC, Louise Hutton KC and Felix Wardle also acted for the Plaintiffs/Respondents at first instance.