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Crispin Odey to leave hedge fund he founded after assault allegations

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By Carolina Mandl and Nell Mackenzie

NEW YORK/LONDON (Reuters) -Crispin Odey, one of Britain’s best-known hedge fund managers, will be leaving the company he founded, Odey Asset Management, following allegations of sexual misconduct, the firm’s executive committee said on Saturday.

The Financial Times and Tortoise, in a joint publication on Thursday, reported allegations by 13 women that Odey had sexually assaulted or harassed them over a 25-year period. He denies the allegations.

Odey and Duncan Lamont, a consultant at law firm Charles Russell Speechlys, which represents Odey Asset Management (OAM), did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment about the hedge fund manager’s departure.

“As from today, he will no longer have any economic or personal involvement in the partnership,” OAM’s executive committee said in a statement.

OAM will continue to operate without him and his partners will control and manage the asset management firm, the company said. It added it has been investigating allegations concerning Odey, but cannot comment in detail because it is bound by legal obligations of confidentiality.

The company plans to change its name, according to a person with knowledge of the discussions.

Odey told the FT on Saturday that he had been notified of the firm’s position, adding: “You have to have (a) willing buyer, willing seller.” He did not elaborate.

Since the publication on Thursday three Wall Street firms that are OAM’s so-called prime brokers — Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley — had moved to review or were cutting ties with the business. Some of its clients said they were terminating business with OAM because of the allegations.

As prime brokers, the banks help facilitate its trades and provide leverage for bets, making their support vital.

JPMorgan and Goldman are continuing to review their prime-broking relationships with the company, sources told Reuters on Saturday. Morgan Stanley declined to comment. UBS which also acts as a prime broker to the firm, did not immediately respond.

Odey, who was cleared of indecent assault charges by a British court in 2021, told Reuters on Thursday that the report was “a rehash of an old article and none of the allegations have been stood up in a courtroom or an investigation.”

A leading backer of Brexit and Conservative Party political donor, Odey founded OAM in 1991.

Known for highly leveraged bets trading global equities, debt and currencies, the firm had $4.8 billion in assets under management, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission in September 2022.

British regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority, has been investigating OAM since 2021, a source familiar with the situation said on Thursday. The regulator declined to comment when reached on Saturday.

(Reporting by Carolina Mandl in New York and Nell Mackenzie in London; Additional reporting by Kirstin Ridley; Editing by Elisa Martinuzzi and Daniel Wallis)

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