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Former City banker accused of raping woman, High Court told

A former City banker at the centre of sexual misconduct allegations is facing legal action by five women, including one who has accused him of rape, the High Court has been told.

Crispin Odey left his position at the hedge fund he founded days after allegations that he had sexually assaulted multiple women were published in the press last year.

A preliminary hearing in London was held to decide whether the five women could pursue their compensation claims together over Mr Odey’s alleged misconduct between 1995 and 2023, with a judge ruling they must be filed individually.

Barristers for the women have claimed one was raped by Mr Odey in the 1990s, and he then “exploited her over the course of several years”.

Mr Odey has denied the allegations against him.

At a hearing on Thursday, Elizabeth-Anne Gumbel KC, for the women, said in written submissions: “Odey had driven her to his home under the pretext of fetching something.

“Once they were inside his home, Odey had gone into another room and then reappeared in a dressing gown before raping the fifth claimant.”

On June 8 last year, the Financial Times and Tortoise Media published allegations from several women that they had been abused or harassed by Mr Odey, with some alleging he sexually assaulted them.

The women had social or professional relationships with Mr Odey, it was reported.

He left his role at Odey Asset Management (OAM) on June 10, with the firm wound down in October after several banks cut ties.

He previously told the Financial Times that the allegations were “rubbish”.

Ms Gumbel told the court that the cases of all the women were similar and should be dealt with together.

She said: “There is considerable overlap between the facts alleged in the existing claims and the facts alleged in the three new claims.

Thursday's hearing was held at the Royal Courts of Justice in London (Nick Ansell/PA)
Thursday’s hearing was held at the Royal Courts of Justice in London (Nick Ansell/PA)

“All five claimants allege that they were sexually assaulted by Odey. Although the index assaults took place at different times, there are numerous similarities between them.”

Lawyers for Mr Odey argued that the women’s claims should not be heard together as the alleged sexual assaults took place on “vastly different dates in completely different circumstances”.

Michael Kent KC, representing Mr Odey, said in court that the cases were “entirely separate” and “the mere fact it is the same defendant” was not a sufficient reason for them to be considered together.

In written submissions, Mr Kent said an argument that the claims were of more “public importance” if joined together was “not understood or relevant”.

Christopher Russell, representing OAM, said in written submissions: “The only common feature of these claims is the alleged tortious conduct of (Mr Odey). That cannot be enough.”

At the end of the hearing, Judge Lisa Sullivan ruled that three women could not join legal action already brought by two others.

She said while the cases had “commonality”, all five would have to file separate claims as “there are differences in time, differences in place and other differences between them”.

It is expected that the five women will sue separately after the decision.

In 2021 Mr Odey was found not guilty of indecent assault after he was accused of launching an “octopus”-like assault on a junior investment banker in 1998.

A district judge at Westminster Magistrates’ Court cleared Mr Odey after a two-and-a-half-day trial.