A London banker hired by Libya to manage more than $800 million is being sued over claims he misappropriated assets the country had invested before the revolution to support a lavish lifestyle.
Frederic Marino was sued by FM Capital Partners over the losses he was allegedly responsible for while running the fund. Marino approved millions of pounds in bonuses and other payments from 2009 through 2014 even as the value of the assets in the fund slumped by $64.6 million, according to documents in FMCP’s lawsuit released last week, which haven’t been previously reported.
Marino is accused of using a note restructuring and performance and management fees for his own benefit before he was terminated in November 2014. He allegedly racked up expenses on a company credit card for a helicopter ride, clothes and restaurant bills. He also spent 165,000 pounds ($230,000) at the five-star Lanesborough Hotel, including 42,000 pounds on parking, the fund says in the suit.
"We’re just trying to solve this mess, so I don’t think I can talk about it," Marino, 49, said on the doorstep of his west London home last week.
Marino took advantage of the political unrest in the North African country to feather his nest, according to the fund’s lawsuit, which was filed in London in December 2014. The United Nations is trying to forge a unity government to stem the political crisis in Libya, that began with the ouster and death of Moammar Qaddafi in 2011. The country is divided between two opposing administrations, each with its own legislature and armed allies, that have been tussling over oil and power for more than a year.
Jason Woodland, Marino’s lawyer at Peters and Peters, declined to comment but provided Bloomberg with his defense filings, which aren’t yet available through the court. Lawyers at Hogan Lovells, which represents FMCP, declined to comment.
Marino, a former Bear Stearns and JPMorgan Chase & Co. banker, said in the filings that substantial increases in his salary and bonus had been approved at board meetings attended by directors representing the Libyan government. FMCP hasn’t provided proof of the sums spent on the company credit card, he said.
London-based FM Capital Partners was incorporated in July 2009 shortly after Marino met with the then-deputy chief executive of Libya Africa Investment Portfolio, Abdulfatah Sharif, in Libya. The fund was 67 percent owned by the LAP, which itself was a unit of the country’s larger Libyan Investment Authority, with the remaining stake held by Marino. At the formation of FMCP, LAP held more than $800 million in investments, lawyers for FMCP said.