Odey in a Bathrobe Lunged at Female Banker, Prosecutors Say
(Bloomberg) -- Dressed in a bathrobe at his home, hedge fund manager Crispin Odey allegedly lunged at a young female banker on a summer night in 1998, prosecutors told a London court on the first day of his indecent-assault trial.
The trial started Wednesday with prosecutors recounting how both Odey and the alleged victim described the evening at his London home more than 20 years ago. Odey told police he was “foolish” to bring the young banker back to his home but said she was “stupid” to take up his invitation.
In an interview with police, outlined by prosecutors, Odey said he was attracted to the woman but denied that he physically touched her in any way. He said he simply “misread the signals” and that she had exaggerated the incident. The woman, who was in her 20s at the time, worked at an investment bank that had Odey’s fund as a client.
The trial comes after a humbling year for the 62-year-old, who’s seen a 30% decline in his fund and his name dropped from some of the funds managed at his eponymous firm. Odey, who arrived with his wife Nichola Pease, denies the charge and had pushed to have the case heard by a magistrate rather than be tried by a jury.
While questioning the woman at the trial, Odey’s lawyer said her recollection of events was inconsistent. He alleged that she had gone to Odey’s house under her “own steam” and that they had had a drink together -- a suggestion that she flatly rejected. “You give no credit for my memory,” she responded.
Prosecutor Kerry Broome told the judge that Odey invited the young woman back to his office, saying he wanted to help her further her career after a meeting earlier in the day.
“This was an opportunity that any junior sales person, a junior member of the bank, would have taken, given Mr. Odey’s position and the fact he was extremely successful,” she said.
After initially suggesting a drink in a pub, the woman said that Odey flagged a taxi to his Chelsea home. There, the woman said she felt trapped when he went to sit with her, and that she had to “wrestle free” after he touched her.
She said she felt “shocked and scared,” was forced to leave quickly and found herself in an unfamiliar part of London.
Odey’s offer to help was a ploy “to get me where he wanted me,” the woman said in a police interview.
At some point when they got to his home, the woman said Odey told her he was going upstairs to take off his jacket. But then he returned having showered and putting on a robe.
Odey said that he’d suggested what might happen.
When the woman asked where was this going to end, Odey said he replied: “This is going to end up in bed hopefully.”
Broome said that the young woman didn’t complain to her employer until a year later. She said she believed that the investment bank didn’t take it seriously. The woman did tell three other male colleagues the day after the alleged assault.
Odey, a backer of Brexit and U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, is known for his eye-catching comments and bearish market outlook.
While Odey fights the litigation, he has 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. At least seven funds have already dropped Odey’s name.
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