Financiers sentenced to 11 years for defrauding Libya fund - UK court

LONDON (Reuters) -A former JPMorgan investment manager and an ex-Julius Baer banker were sentenced to a total of 11 years by a London court on Monday for defrauding a Libyan sovereign wealth fund out of millions of dollars.

Frederic Marino, 56, and Yoshiki Ohmura, 47, were sentenced in their absence at London’s Southwark Crown Court for one count of conspiracy to commit fraud by abuse of a position of trust in relation to the Libya Africa Investment Portfolio (LAP).

Marino, formerly head of JPMorgan’s alternative investment emerging market group, was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison. He had pleaded not guilty but was convicted after a trial, which he did not attend.

Judge Tony Baumgartner said that Marino – as chief executive officer of FM Capital Partners (FMCP), which prosecutors said managed around $800 million for the LAP – had “targeted the collective wealth of the Libyan people”.

The judge described Marino as “a greedy, corrupt and manipulative man who thought very little, if nothing, of how your offending might affect others … and who would have gone on to continue offending had you not been caught out”.

Ohmura – ex-global head of structured investments at Julius Baer company Global Asset Management, who helped dishonestly extract investment fees from LAP – was sentenced to three-and-a-half years.

He did not appear at his sentencing and Baumgartner, who issued a warrant for his arrest on Monday, said Ohmura’s failure to attend showed his “lack of remorse”.

The judge had previously issued a warrant for Marino’s arrest in October after he failed to appear at his trial.

Marino’s business partner at FMCP, 47-year-old Aurelien Bessot, who pleaded guilty almost two years before the trial began, was sentenced to 15 months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years. He declined to comment after the hearing.

Baumgartner said Bessot had cooperated with the prosecution, offered to give evidence against his co-defendants and was “truly remorseful”.

Prosecutors said after the hearing that the total value of the conspiracy was over $11 million, in U.S. dollars and euros.

(Reporting by Sam TobinEditing by William James, Bernadette Baum and Christina Fincher)