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UK court rules in favor of Goldman Sachs in $1.2 billion Libyan fund dispute

A British court has ruled in favour of Goldman Sachs in a $1.2 billion dispute with Libya's $67 billion sovereign wealth fund over nine disputed trades, a spokesman for Goldman Sachs said on Friday.

The Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) was attempting to claw back $1.2 billion from the Wall Street giant in relation to nine equity derivatives trades carried out in 2008, which expired worthless.

GOLDMAN PROFITS
Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The LIA said it was "naturally disappointed" with the judgment handed down by Judge Vivien Rose. "Time will be needed fully to digest the judgment and all options are being considered at this time," it said in a statement.

While lawyers for the LIA declined to comment, a source with knowledge of the matter told Reuters: "I would be very surprised if there wasn't an appeal."

In the trial, which ran for seven weeks in London's High Court in the summer, the LIA argued that trades were secured through "undue influence" and "unconscionable bargaining".

It claimed that it was too unsophisticated to understand what it was buying, and that Goldman had abused its position as a trusted adviser.

Goldman Sachs disputed the LIA's claim that the wealth fund was financially naive, saying that "an unforeseen financial depression" had caused the losses, not any wrongdoing by the bank.

It also maintained that its relationship with the LIA was at all "material times an arm's length one" between banker and client.

The LIA is also pursuing the French investment bank Societe Generale for some $2.1 billion in relation to another set of trades entered into between 2007 and 2009. SocGen is contesting the case, which is only expected to come to trial in April 2017.