US banks look to cut ties with UK hedge fund after sex assault claims

JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley are mulling cutting ties with British hedge fund boss Crispin Odey after allegations of sexual assault, sources familiar with the matter told AFP on Thursday.

JPMorgan Chase is “reviewing our relationship with Odey Asset Management in light of the allegations in the Financial Times”, said a source close to the US bank.

A source close to Morgan Stanley confirmed media speculation that it wanted to sever ties.

The Financial Times on Thursday published claims from eight women alleging they had been sexually assaulted by 64-year-old Odey, a vocal Brexit supporter and Conservative party donor.

A further five women alleged they had been abused or harassed by Odey, according to an FT investigation.

Odey, well known for making huge sums from betting heavily against the British pound and UK government bonds in recent years, has described the allegations reported by the FT as “rubbish” and has strenuously denied them.

His legal representatives did not respond to AFP’s request for comment, nor did his company.

One law firm that has worked for Odey in the past declined to comment, while another did not respond.

When contacted by AFP, British police would not confirm whether any official investigation into the complaints had been carried out.

A spokesperson for Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulator said: “We are unable to comment on individuals or specific firms.

“However, we take allegations of non-financial misconduct seriously and expect firms to have adequate governance procedures in place that ensures allegations of misconduct are properly investigated.”

The FT probe focused on incidents said to have occurred between 1998 and 2021.

It cited 13 women who have worked for Odey Asset Management or had social or professional dealings with its founder, the business daily said.

The investigation follows a British court ruling in 2021 that found Odey not guilty of sexual assault against a female banker.

Thursday’s allegations follow separate recent reports by another British newspaper, The Guardian, revealing similar claims made by women at main UK business lobby group, the CBI. — Agence France-Presse