Crispin Odey faces the first lawsuit stemming from allegations against the financier of multiple instances of sexual misconduct over decades.
Two of his alleged victims have submitted a civil claim in the high court against him and the hedge fund firm he founded, Odey Asset Management. The court granted anonymity for the two women during the proceedings earlier this month, according to documents seen by the Financial Times.
Jill Greenfield, a lawyer at Fieldfisher — who has previously represented victims of the late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein — is overseeing the claim for alleged personal injury and psychological harm.
Greenfield said she would separately notify both Crispin Odey and Odey Asset Management of another two alleged victims who also intend to pursue a claim.
The development could pave the way for litigation in the high court between the financier, his former firm and the female claimants. Greenfield praised the “very brave” individuals bringing the civil claim. “This is not going away. We are absolutely taking the next formal step,” she said.
The proceedings will intensify pressure on Crispin Odey and the firm, which entered a period of crisis after the FT reported in June allegations that the financier had sexually assaulted or harassed 13 women over a 25-year period. Another seven women subsequently came forward to the FT with similar allegations, one earlier this week. Of the 20 alleged victims, 13 had previously worked for Odey Asset Management.
The allegations triggered tumult for both the financier and the firm, which are both facing investigations by the UK financial regulator. The firm’s partners moved swiftly to eject Crispin Odey — one of the City of London’s most prominent names and a Conservative party donor — from the firm he founded three decades ago. Nevertheless, Odey Asset Management faced heavy client withdrawals while financial partners cut ties, and has been forced to break itself up.
When asked to comment on proceedings being issued against him, Crispin Odey said he was aware of two claims. He said one was out of time and the other was “to be easily contested”.
Odey Asset Management did not respond to requests for comment.
Odey’s legal team said in June that the hedge fund manager “strenuously disputed” the allegations from the first 13 women who claimed sexual assault or harassment by the financier and claimed the FT had a “preordained agenda”. He did not respond to requests for comment on the second set of allegations from six women. The allegations stretch from 1985 to 2021.
In 2021, Crispin Odey was found not guilty of a single charge of indecent assault.
One of the claimants said she was pursuing the civil action to ensure “there are strong repercussions”.
“I lived with a lot of shame and self-blame for so long,” she added. She said she would “never want any other woman to feel the same deep-seated fear and shame”.
Another claimant said she was suing to put an end to Crispin Odey’s alleged abuse. “It is my hope that this will come to an end. He must face the consequences of his behaviour,” she said. “We need to show our children that speaking the truth, however scary, is the right thing. I want my daughters to be able to walk into their workplace and feel safe and not under threat from predatory men or their enablers.”
This week Crispin Odey admitted for the first time an incident in which he grabbed the breasts of a female employee while she was working at the Mayfair headquarters of his hedge fund firm in 2005. She is the 20th woman to come forward to the FT alleging sexual misconduct by the hedge fund manager.
Crispin Odey said the incident was an “aberration” and blamed it on the aftereffects of an anaesthetic he had been given that day during a root canal treatment at the dentist.