Goldman Sachs executive Andrea Vella said the relationship between one of the bank’s employees and the relative of a Libyan Investment Authority official wasn’t appropriate and he would have been worried had he known about it.
Bloomberg News reports that in his second week of testimony for the Libyan fund’s $1bn London lawsuit, Vella, the co-head of Asia investment banking, was asked about an incident in which another Goldman banker allegedly paid for two prostitutes while on a 2008 trip to Dubai with Haitem Zarti, the brother of an LIA executive.
“It’s inappropriate,” Vella said, even though the banker, Youssef Kabbaj, allegedly used his own money. “It seems to me more of a personal relationship at that point,” Vella told the court.
The Libyan fund’s case against Goldman Sachs relies on how much the bank was able to influence its former client, whether close ties between Kabbaj and LIA officials were an example of good customer service or, as the fund alleges, an attempt to exploit them for profit. Libya’s $60bn oil wealth fund lost almost all of the $1bn it invested in derivatives sold by the bank when markets collapsed in 2008.
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