A CONSERVATIVE parliamentary candidate fighting a west of Scotland seat is a “banking whistleblower” at the centre of a billion-dollar lawsuit between the Libyan government and one of the world’s largest investment banks, Scotland on Sunday can reveal.
George Jabbour, who is standing in Inverclyde in May’s general election, was a senior analyst with Goldman Sachs who raised concerns over the institution’s dealings in complex derivative trades with the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA), a fund which safeguards the nation’s oil riches.
He now runs Ethos Capital Advisors Ltd, which works with a roster of sovereign wealth funds in the Middle East and north Africa. The firm has been involved with the LIA, which is suing Goldman in the High Court in London over allegations an investment portfolio sold to it by the bank lost the fund around £780m.
One Conservative MP hired by Syrian-born Jabbour as a consultant told Scotland on Sunday his role was to encourage decision makers in Libya to “take action”. Crispin Blunt, a former prisons minister, said Jabbour had a “terrific moral story” and the party was “lucky to have him”.
The chairman of the local Conservative association, Graham Brooks, described the 33-year-old as a “banking whistleblower.”
Yet voters in Inverclyde looking to find out about Jabbour’s background will find no mention of his extraordinary past in investment banking on the Conservatives’ website.
In his biography, he describes himself as an “engineer”, a reference to his civil engineering degree from Damascus University.
Jabbour, who became a British citizen in 2011, first visited Scotland last summer, where he campaigned for Better Together, making more than 3,000 telephone calls to voters. Prime Minister David Cameron later wrote to thank him for his “colossal effort.”
But his career to date has revolved around investment banking. During his time at Goldman, he was involved in derivative investments with the LIA and later raised concerns that the authority did not fully understand the transactions.
As part of its court case, the LIA, which presides over a £42bn fund, claims the bank made profits of around £162m on the trades. Papers lodged with the High Court state that Jabbour and another former Goldman employee have confirmed to Enyo, the LIA’s legal representatives, that “they have relevant information which they are prepared to discuss with Enyo”.
However, the documents add that Goldman refused to allow Enyo to speak to them “under the pretext of the former employees’ ongoing duties of confidentiality”.
Goldman has said the LIA’s claims surrounding the trades are without merit and it will defend them vigorously. The case is expected to come to trial next year.
After being laid off by the bank, Jabbour went on to found Ethos Capital Advisors Ltd, a London-based firm which has worked with the LIA and other clients. Jabbour hired Blunt as a consultant who was paid £15,000 for encouraging the Libyans to take action against Goldman.
Jabbour yesterday declined to comment.
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