UPDATED: UK court finds financiers guilty of defrauding Libyan sovereign wealth fund

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LONDON, Dec 8 (Reuters) – A former JPMorgan investment manager and an ex-Julius Baer banker were found guilty in a London court on Thursday of defrauding a Libyan sovereign wealth fund out of millions of dollars by paying hidden fees to their own offshore companies.

Frederic Marino, 56, was chief executive officer of FM Capital Partners (FMCP), which managed hundreds of millions of dollars for the Libya Africa Investment Portfolio (LAP), when he dishonestly extracted investment fees with the help of 47-year-old Yoshiki Ohmura, prosecutors said.

Both had pleaded not guilty.

Marino – formerly head of JPMorgan’s alternative investment emerging market group – was convicted in his absence at London’s Southwark Crown Court of one count of conspiracy to commit fraud by abuse of a position of trust between February 2009 and October 2014.

Ohmura, ex-global head of structured investments at Julius Baer company Global Asset Management, was in court and was also convicted of the same charge over the same period.

Prosecutors told jurors in October that the charges related to 17 investments made by LAP between 2009 and 2011 and subsequent payments totalling more than $15 million made to offshore companies controlled by Marino, his business partner in FMCP, Aurelien Bessot, and Ohmura.

Marino did not attend the trial and was convicted in his absence, while Bessot, 47, had previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit fraud by abuse of a position of trust.

Judge Tony Baumgartner granted Ohmura unconditional bail ahead of sentencing on Feb. 10, 2023. The judge said that a custodial sentence is “almost inevitable”.

(Reporting by Sam Tobin, Editing by Kylie MacLellan)

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