Hedge Fund Chief Crispin Odey Cleared in Sexual-Assault Case

Crispin Odey was cleared of charges that he sexually assaulted a young woman more than 20 years ago, overcoming allegations that threatened his position as one of London’s most high-profile money managers.

Judge Nicholas Rimmer issued a not guilty verdict Thursday a few hours after the hedge-fund chief finished giving evidence at the London trial.

Odey was accused of launching himself at the banker after inviting her back to his home following a meeting earlier that day in the summer of 1998. He said he was attracted to the woman, who was in her 20s at the time, but insisted he never touched her.

The verdict will come as a huge relief for the 62-year-old, who’s seen his name dropped from some of the funds managed at his eponymous firm. Meanwhile his flagship fund has recently bounced back with a record gain.

Hedge Fund Chief Crispin Odey Cleared in Sexual-Assault Case

The woman, who can’t be identified, said Odey had abused his position as a senior client of her firm. But prosecutors were hamstrung by the fact that her colleagues and former boyfriend remembered events differently. Judge Rimmer acknowledged the inconsistencies in testimony but said it was inevitable when dealing with events from so long ago.

Odey testified today that the allegations were a “horrible slur.”

A spokesman for Odey Asset Management said that “Crispin has always maintained his innocence, and we are pleased that he has been found not guilty.”

During her testimony last month, the woman said that Odey was a “scramble of hands” after they returned to his home and described the evening as a “groping event.”

Odey admitted while he testified Thursday that his intentions weren’t altogether honorable even as he denied the assault.

“I’m embarrassed to say that if she’d gone along with it, I’d have gone further,” he said.

Odey said the evening in the summer of 1998 “ended very abruptly.”

A backer of Brexit and U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Odey is known for his eye-catching comments and bearish market outlook.

While he fought the criminal case, he also stepped away from the helm of his firm to focus on trading. The firm has since created a new unit called Brook Asset Management and rebranded several funds.

The verdict follows an upswing in the fortunes of his flagship fund.

The Odey European Inc. fund surged 38.4% in February, the best monthly return in almost three decades of trading, according to an investor update seen by Bloomberg. The performance lifted this year’s gains to 51% -- a rare bright spot for a fund that’s suffered losses in five of the past six years.

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