One of Britain’s most high profile hedge fund managers changed into a dressing gown and "launched himself at" a young investment banker he had invited to his Chelsea flat, a court has heard.
Multimillionaire hedge fund manager Crispin Odey has appeared in court accused of assaulting a young woman in the late 1990s.
Odey, 61, of Swan Walk, Chelsea, was charged in May with indecently assaulting the woman in 1998 under the Sexual Offences Act.
Westminster Magistrates' Court heard that Odey invited a junior employee from a major investment bank back to his Chelsea home on July 13 1998.
He is then said to have changed out of his suit into a dressing gown and "launched himself" at the complainant, pushing his hand inside her blouse to grab her breast and putting his hand up her skirt.
Prosecutor Aaron McCalister told the court the complainant was in her 20s at the time of the alleged offence.
He clarified that although Odey is accused of putting his hand in the woman's blouse, he did not put it inside her bra.
Mr McCalister said: “This assault is said to have taken place by the defendant on the complainant who was then a junior employee of an investment bank in the summer of 1998.
Odey, whose first name is Robin but uses his middle name Crispin, appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Monday, speaking only to confirm his name and address and to deny one count of indecent assault.
The vocal Brexit backer, who is said to have donated £10,000 to Boris Johnson's leadership campaign, entered the dock smartly dressed in a charcoal suit and pale blue shirt with a pink tie. He arrived with his wife.
Together, the couple, who were married in 1991 are worth around £825 million, according to the Sunday Times Rich List.
It is Oxford-educated Odey’s second marriage, after he was briefly married in the mid 1980s.
Crispin Aylett QC, for Odey, described the allegations as "immensely damaging for Mr Odey, both professionally and personally", and called for the case to be dealt with as swiftly as possible in the magistrates' courts.
Chairman of the bench Richard Duncalf declined an application by the prosecution to have the case sent to the crown court, and listed it for a two-day trial at Hendon Magistrates' Court on February 17 and 18.
He remains on bail until then.
Odey’s firm, Odey Asset Management, based in London's Mayfair district and founded in 1991, is best known for the long-short European equity fund, which he manages.
But he has courted controversy over the course of his career through his investment strategies.
He told the BBC "Il mattino ha l'oro in bocca" - the morning has gold in its mouth - on the day after the 2016 EU referendum, after netting £220 million betting the markets would fall.
In 2008 he earned £28 million after successfully predicting the credit crunch, and backed a no-deal Brexit, but denied he was doing so in order to profit from a fall in the value of British companies.
More recently, he made a reported £115m by predicting the FTSE 100 would crash in value as a result of Covid-19.
In a statement, Mr Odey said: "I'm pleased that the magistrates have agreed to hear this historic matter quickly.
"I look forward to having the facts heard and maintain the allegation is untrue."