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Goldman Sachs Wins a Victory in London

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In a London courtroom on Friday, October 14, a judge found for Goldman Sachs in a much watched case that pitted that notorious investment bank against late Qaddafi and post-Qaddafi Libya.

Here's a Dealbook story on the ruling.

Here's the first 120 pages of the decision by Judge Vivien Rose.

The roots of the case go back well before the revolution in Libya in 2011, and before the global financial crisis of 2007-08. The roots of it go back to the period 2003-04 when the western industrialized countries began lifting their sanctions against Libya, became willing to buy its oil and accept its money in their banking institution's coffers. In this period, Libya created the Libya Investment Authority (LIA), a sovereign wealth fund.

Goldman Sachs was one of many institutions that, in Judge Rose's words, "beat a path to the door" of the LIA with bright ideas as to how it should invest that money,

The LIA in this litigation has portrayed itself as a bunch of hayseeds, unused to the ways of the wicked financial world, trying to get into the swing of things, and naively trusty of the suggestions of Goldman Sachs.  Thus, LIA has contested certain trades executed in the first four months of 2008, asking that Goldman Sachs be required to make them whole for their losses in these trades.

A related consideration, Haitem Zarti, the younger brother of a key decision-maker in the LIA, received a coveted internship at Goldman Sachs just as the LIA was about to sign off on certain equity derivatives deals.

The court refused to accept that account of what happened. They were not the easily wined-and-dined hayseeds that they make themselves out to have been, and there was no quid pro quo involving Mr Zarti.

Rose heard all the evidence and I didn't. I won't second guess her. But I'm sure the historians of posterity will have work to do. Doctoral dissertations must be in the works already.

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