Credit Suisse Group AG cleared the first hurdle toward kick-starting a long-awaited $440 million lawsuit against SoftBank Group Corp. stemming from the spectacular collapse of finance firm Greensill Capital.
A London judge said Wednesday that the Swiss lender’s supply chain fund could be considered a “victim” of a series of contested transactions and bring the claim itself rather than the liquidator of Greensill. The judge said SoftBank could still defend itself before a formal suit can be issued.
If approved, it will be the opening salvo in a closely watched battle that sprung from the high-profile collapse of financier Lex Greensill’s empire in 2021. Its meltdown was the first of two big hits to Credit Suisse last year, with the implosion of Archegos Capital Management coming shortly afterward.
Credit Suisse Steps Up $440M Legal Dispute With SoftBank Over Greensill Funds
Credit Suisse and SoftBank have engaged in a series of shadow legal skirmishes in the US and UK ahead of the filing of the claim. The Swiss bank initially sought documents from SoftBank as far back as last December.
The case relates to the way Greensill restructured its relationship with Katerra Inc., a US-based construction company in which SoftBank was a major investor. Credit Suisse alleges SoftBank concocted the restructuring so that it could pull its own money out, knowing full well that Greensill, already in free-fall, would be unable to repay the $440 million it owed to Credit Suisse.
“Those transactions are clearly transactions at an undervalue for which there is no commercial purpose,” Credit Suisse’s lawyer Sonia Tolaney said.
Tolaney said that Lex Greensill told Credit Suisse the Katerra restructuring would have “no impact.” Three months later, credit notes tied to Katerra defaulted.
A spokesman for SoftBank didn’t immediately return messages seeking comment outside of normal business hours.
Photograph: A passenger tram travels by the Credit Suisse Group AG headquarters in Zurich. Photo credit: Stefan Wermuth/Bloomberg
Copyright 2022 Bloomberg.
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