SocGen Sued in U.K. by Libyan Investment Authority

Societe Generale SA, France’s second-largest bank, was sued in the U.K. by the Libyan Investment Authority, after the sovereign-wealth fund sued Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in January over derivatives trades.

The claims against Societe Generale exceed $1.5 billion and involve derivative transactions that took place from 2007 to 2009, a spokesman for LIA, who asked not to be identified, said in an e-mailed statement.

The case against Paris-based Societe Generale was filed today in London, according to court records. The records don’t include more information about the case.

In its lawsuit against Goldman Sachs filed Jan. 21 in London, LIA accused the New York-based bank of making about $350 million on “worthless” derivatives trades after exerting “undue influence” on managers of the fund, the second-largest sovereign-wealth fund in Africa.

LIA said in court documents that its executives, who were given gifts of chocolate and after-shave by the bank, never understood the transactions.

Libya’s sovereign-wealth fund built up assets of about $60 billion under Muammar Qaddafi, who was deposed and killed in a 2011 revolution. The LIA lost about $1.75 billion betting on structured products in 2007 and 2008, about $900 million of which was with Goldman Sachs, its former chairman, Mohsen Derregia, said in June 2012.

Jim Galvin, a spokesman for Societe General in New York, didn’t immediately respond to a call and an e-mail message seeking comment on the lawsuit.

Fiona Laffan, a Goldman Sachs spokeswoman in London, previously said the LIA’s claims were “without merit.”

The case is The Libyan Investment Authority v. Societe Generale S.A, 14-260, High Court of Justice Queens Bench Division, Commercial Court. The Goldman Sachs case is The Libyan Investment Authority v. Goldman Sachs International, 14-310, High Court of Justice, Chancery Division.

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