LONDON — Britain’s High Court on Friday rejected a $1 billion lawsuit against Goldman Sachs by Libya’s sovereign wealth fund, which accused the investment bank of duping it into risky deals.
The Libyan Investment Authority alleged that Goldman Sachs made hefty profits by taking advantage of the fund’s inexperience to get it to make high-risk derivative trades in the period before the 2008 global financial crisis. Its lawyers said Goldman Sachs made more than $200 million in four months in 2008, while the authority lost the whole of a $1.2 billion investment.
The fund’s lawyer, Roger Masefield, told a hearing earlier this year that Goldman Sachs made “eye-watering profits” by taking advantage of the authority’s “lack of sophistication.” Attorneys also claimed Goldman Sachs wooed the fund’s managers with lavish corporate hospitality and foreign trips — and even prostitutes.
Goldman Sachs denied wrongdoing.
High Court justice Vivien Rose said she dismissed the claim that the disputed trades were the result of “undue influence” by Goldman Sachs.
She said that although the authority may have made unsuitable investments, they were no different “from many other investments that the LIA made over the period in that regard.”
Goldman Sachs said it was pleased with the ruling, which it called “a comprehensive judgment in our favor.”
The investment authority said it would continue to fight because “Libya’s wealth must be returned to the people of Libya”.
The $67 billion fund was set up by late Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi in 2006 to invest the country’s oil wealth. He was deposed in 2011.