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$24 billion lawsuit filed against Credit Suisse

Credit Suisse has been sued by property owners in four luxury ski and golf resorts, saying the Swiss bank concocted a loan scheme to defraud them and ultimately take over the properties.

The lawsuit filed in a federal court in Boise, Idaho, seeks $24 billion (SFr24.7 billion) of damages against Credit Suisse and commercial real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield, and class-action status for more than 3,000 investors who bought land or homes.

Credit Suisse spokesman Duncan King said: "We believe the suit to be without merit and will defend ourselves vigorously."

The alleged losses relate to Yellowstone Club, a Montana ski resort whose members have included Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, as well as to Lake Las Vegas resort in southern Nevada, the Tamarack resort in central Idaho and Ginn sur Mer on Grand Bahama Island in the Bahamas.

According to the complaint, Credit Suisse violated federal racketeering laws by concocting a "loan to own" scheme that inflated the value of resorts and burdened the resorts and purchasers of homes there with too much debt.

Using appraisal methods provided by Cushman & Wakefield, this scheme allowed Credit Suisse to win "enormous fees" and ultimately foreclose on or take control of the resorts at well below market value, the complaint said.

"The scheme has been a financial heist for Credit Suisse with no risk," the complaint said.

"Credit Suisse knew at the time the lending advice and authorisations were given that its scheme and tactics would cause the developers and the resorts financial ruin, resulting in the ultimate takeover by Credit Suisse," it added.

The complaint seeks $8 billion of actual damages, including alleged losses of property, business interests and reputation, plus $16 billion of punitive damages.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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