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Ex-Charterhouse executive accuses firm of malpractice


courthouse_lrgFormer Charterhouse Capital Partners executive Geoff Arbuthnott has accused the UK private equity firm of malpractice at a trial over the value of his stake.

Arbuthnott said that Charterhouse offered him £1.4m for his stake in 2011 that was worth £27m, while chairman James Gordon Bonnyman and 16 other shareholders said he tried to blackmail them to make them raise the price, according to a Bloomberg report.

Arbuthnott, who left his job in 2008 after more than 20 years with the firm, said he suspected the firm of “pervasive malpractice, primarily in the form of secret access to the senior management of acquisition targets.”

Other stakeholders said that the claims had been investigated and while minor breaches were found, there was no dishonesty or improper gains that had to be reported, said Bloomberg.

Arbuthnott’s lawyer David Chivers said the price offered to him for his shares and not the alleged improper conduct was the key.

One of Charterhouse’s portfolio companies, French clothing retailer Vivarte, is reportedly considering a range of options to deal with its €2bn debt pile.

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