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Crispin Odey sues Financial Times for libel after sexual assault claims

crispin odey
Mr Odey, 65, was ousted from his hedge fund after allegations concerning 13 women were made public - JULIAN SIMMONDS

Crispin Odey is suing the Financial Times for libel, almost a year after the newspaper published allegations of sexual harassment against the hedge fund tycoon.

The millionaire financier filed a legal claim against the Financial Times for defamation, libel and slander on Wednesday, according to court filings.

Mr Odey, 65, has hired lawyers from Gardner Leader to bring the action in the High Court, as first reported by trade magazine The Lawyer.

It comes after the Financial Times last June published allegations about Mr Odey’s treatment of women over a 25-year period.

The allegations concern 13 women who claimed to have been abused or harassed by Mr Odey, eight of whom said they had been sexually assaulted.

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The former Tory donor was accused of forcibly kissing women, inappropriately touching their breasts and making crude, sexist remarks to female employees.

Lawyers for Mr Odey have “strenuously” denied the allegations against him.

The Financial Times at the time said it “corroborated accounts of an abusive workplace culture” at his hedge fund, Odey Asset Management.

The financier was removed from Odey Asset Management, once one of London’s best-known hedge funds, shortly after the sexual misconduct claims emerged.

The firm, which managed nearly £4bn in assets, last October announced it would wind down its funds as its asset managers moved to rival investment firms.

The Financial Conduct Authority closed an investigation into the hedge fund last December but is still investigating whether Mr Odey is a “fit and proper” person in the financial services sector.

A Financial Times spokesman said: “More than 11 months after publication of our initial investigative news report about Crispin Odey his lawyers recently sent us a letter of claim, and a libel claim has now been issued without waiting for our reply.

“We have not yet been served with the claim, but our investigative journalism about Mr Odey was carefully prepared and publication was in the public interest. We stand by our reporting, and look forward to vigorously defending it.”

Mr Odey rose to prominence during the financial crisis after betting against the shares of banks exposed to the housing sector.

The financier was one of the City’s most prominent Brexiteers, donating £873,000 to the Vote Leave campaign.

Despite his support for leaving the EU, Mr Odey made £220m in 2016 from betting against the pound in the wake of the Brexit referendum.

The City investor has also given £265,000 to the Conservatives, including £10,000 to Boris Johnson’s party leadership campaign in June 2019.

Mr Odey was contacted for comment.