An executive at under-fire Burford Capital has been accused of unlawfully exchanging confidential documents for a sex tape in a lawsuit filed at the High Court in London, adding another battle for the litigation funder.
In the lawsuit, the company’s co-head of its global corporate intelligence, asset tracing and enforcement business, Daniel Hall, is alleged to have provided sensitive documents obtained while working for a shipping client. Hall allegedly swapped the documents for video material of a sexual nature, relating to American billionaire Harry Sargeant III, whose assets he was investigating on behalf of another client.
In a statement, Burford’s chief executive Christopher Bogart said: ‘It is not uncommon for Burford to find itself involved in litigation relating to matters that it has financed, and this case is no exception; this is simply part of Burford’s business. This is not a case against Burford; rather, the claim is brought by Wilmer Ruperti against Novoship, and Burford’s only involvement is that Novoship has claimed that if it is found liable to Ruperti then Burford should step in and indemnify it. Burford believes that the main claim here is meritless and that Novoship’s indemnity claim is also meritless, and the subject of a prior litigation release.’
Hall and Burford are now being chased for up to $91m by Russian shipping group Novoship over the alleged exchange of information, as part of a larger court case. The case sees companies owned by Venezuelan business owner Wilmer Ruperti attempting to sue Novoship for allegedly breaking a 2016 settlement agreement. Reed Smith are the firm representing Novoship on the case.
The news comes amidst a tough month for Burford, which has found itself in an ongoing acrimony with American investor Muddy Waters. Earlier this month, the investor accused Burford of being ‘insolvent’ and bedevilled by governance issues. In response, Burford announced changes to its governance structure last week. Today (22 August) shares at Burford dropped over 3% to trade at 778.5p.