Hogan Lovells wins global fraud case for investment adviser FM Capital Partners against its former CEO

LONDON, 11 July 2018 - Hogan Lovells has today secured victory for its client, FM Capital Partners Ltd (FMCP), after the High Court gave a resounding judgment in FMCP's favour at the conclusion of a four year fraud claim against FMCP's former CEO, City banker Frederic Marino, and his associate, Yoshiki Ohmura, a former Bank Julius Baer employee.

The Court found that Mr Marino and Mr Ohmura acted dishonestly over many years as they received secret commissions and paid bribes totalling upwards of USD 25 million in connection with a portfolio of assets owned by the Libya Africa Investment Portfolio (LAP), a Libyan sovereign wealth fund. 

At the time, FMCP was managing LAP's assets, but Mr Marino defrauded FMCP by conspiring with Mr Ohmura to divert funds away to offshore companies and accounts (in Monaco, Cayman, Seychelles and Dubai) they controlled personally over a four year period starting in 2009. The Court found that Marino "papered up" payments via contracts with Ohmura, and their respective companies. They used the stolen money to fund lavish lifestyles.

After discovering the wrongdoing in 2014, FMCP dismissed Mr Marino for gross misconduct and launched the wide-ranging claims (which have also encompassed proceedings in Monaco and Norway) to recover the misappropriated funds, later obtaining a worldwide freezing order over Mr Marino's assets.

Today the Court found Mr Marino and Mr Ohmura to be liable to FMCP in relation to each of the transactions in issue in the proceedings, with Mr Marino liable for his multiple breaches of fiduciary duties, and both Marino and Mr Ohmura being liable for bribery and for dishonestly assisting in other breaches. The amount FMCP is able to recover will be decided at a hearing later in July, but is expected to amount to around US$20-25m, reflecting the amount of the secret payments and bribes paid by the defendants.

Roger Turner, CEO of FMCP said: “We welcome this judgment and I am very pleased to see justice being delivered against Mr Marino and Mr Ohmura for their fraudulent scheme against FMCP. I am ambitious for FMCP and want to see us continue to grow as a business investing the vast fund provided by Libya for the Libyan people.”

Crispin Rapinet, Head of Hogan Lovells' global Investigations, White Collar and Fraud practice, said: "Today's judgment reinforces the consequences of engaging in serious fraud. The ruling is an important step forward in the ongoing global fight against bribery and corruption."

The full judgment can be found here.

The legal line-up:

For the claimant, FM Capital Partners:

Nathan Pillow QC and Anton Dudnikov of Essex Court Chambers, instructed by Hogan Lovells International LLP partner Crispin Rapinet and associates Oliver Humphrey and Tessa Furnivall

For the defendants, Frederic Marino and Yoshiki Ohmura:

Frederic Marino: James Couser of Three Stone Buildings, instructed by Richard Slade of Richard Slade & Company

Yoshiki Ohmura: Laurence Emmett and James Fox of One Essex Court, instructed by Cooke Young & Keidan LLP partner Stephen Elam and associates Kajal Patel and Liam McNeely

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