Entrepreneur claims justice from legal system in fight with financial specialist

Mobile phone entrepreneur John Caudwell says a High Court judge's ruling on his legal fight with a French financial specialist is an example of the British legal system delivering justice.

Mr Caudwell, founder of mobile phone firm Phones 4u, said former Coutts banker Nathalie Dauriac had got a fraction of what she wanted.

He said he aimed to put the "deeply upsetting chapter" behind him.

French financial expert Nathalie Dauriac (Victoria Jones/PA)
French financial expert Nathalie Dauriac (Victoria Jones/PA)

Mr Justice Marcus Smith produced a ruling on Tuesday after analysing the dispute at a High Court trial in London last year.

Ms Dauriac had become embroiled in the dispute after leaving a management job in the wake of being accused of fiddling expenses.

She had complained that Mr Caudwell orchestrated an "elaborate conspiracy" against her after they set up a wealth management company.

Ms Dauriac said he launched an "unfair" expenses investigation when she was chief executive at Signia Wealth Management.

She said she was forced out and said she lost shares worth more than £10 million.

Signia bosses said Ms Dauriac wrongfully claimed around £30,000 expenses.

They said her approach to expenses claims was brazen and she was guilty of gross misconduct.

Mr Justice Smith concluded that there had been "no proper determination" of the value of Ms Dauriac's shares and said she was entitled to around £500,000.

But he said Ms Dauriac had been a "remarkably unsatisfactory witness".

The judge also said there was no conspiracy "intention" and he said an expenses investigation arose out of an "entirely proper concern" about Ms Dauriac's expenses.

He said Mr Caudwell was "clear and articulate" and had given "reliable" evidence.

Mr Caudwell said, after the ruling, that he had "been to hell and back".

"The British legal system has delivered justice," he said in a statement.

"I now aim to put this deeply upsetting chapter behind me and look forward to the rest of 2018 with a complete focus on my charity and philanthropic work, knowing that the truth has finally come to light."

Mr Caudwell said he could not agree with the judge's valuation of Ms Dauriac's Signia shares.

But he said the sum she had been awarded for those shares represented a "tiny fraction" of what she had been seeking.

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