Southwark Crown Court Sunday sentenced three fund managers to a total of 12 years and three months imprisonment following a seven year investigation by the National Crime Agency (NCA) and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). Frederic Marino, Yoshiki Ohmura and Aurelien Bessot were convicted for their involvement in a fraud that caused the Libyan Sovereign Wealth Fund to lose a total of $8.45 million.
Marino, a former JPMorgan investment manager, and Bessot began the investment company FM Capital Partners (FMCP) in 2009. Through Ohmura, a Swiss investment banker, FMCP made investments on behalf of the Libya Africa Investment Portfolio (LAIP). However, the trio also paid hidden fees to their own offshore companies in the Seychelles and the Cayman Islands. In the process, they defrauded LAIP of millions of dollars. In December 2022, Marino and Ohmura were found guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud by abuse of position, while Bessot pleaded guilty to the charge prior to the trial. They were sentenced Monday to seven and a half years, three and a half years and a 15 month suspended sentence, respectively.
The sentences are the result of an “extremely complex investigation” that first began in 2014 with an independent audit. The NCA and CPS then took over the investigation. Commenting on the situation, Deputy Director of the National Economic Crime Center Rachael Herbert said:
The defendants deliberately abused their professional positions to commit fraud to acquire vast sums of money for their own personal gain. This successful investigation demonstrates the NCA can disrupt complex fraud through law enforcement collaboration, both nationally and internationally
The NCA hope that these convictions “send a clear message to anyone in the financial sector about the consequences of abusing their position.”