The multimillionaire hedge fund manager Crispin Odey has acknowledged propositioning a banker after inviting her to his Chelsea home following a work meeting, but has denied indecently assaulting her.
Odey was accused of lunging at the woman after showering and changing into a bathrobe. During a hearing at Hendon magistrates court on Wednesday, prosecutors alleged that he put his hand down her shirt and up her skirt during the incident in 1998.
The married 62-year-old said he made an “ill-judged and unwanted sexual invitation” after inviting her to his home following a meeting, the prosecutor Kerry Broome said, but claimed she was exaggerating.
Broome told the court that the woman, in her 20s at the time, was “shocked and scared” by the incident. The court heard that, when Odey was interviewed in 2019, he accepted that the woman was at his house, where they were talking about work, and said she asked him: “Where is this going to end?”
The prosecutor told the court: “Odey said, ‘This is going to end up in bed, hopefully.’ He said the woman was appalled, that he had misread signals, and she left.
“He accepts he made the proposition but said there was no physical assault and for whatever reason she is exaggerating. He said it was stupid of him to make the offer, but stupid of her to go to his house.”
The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, met with “high-profile” Odey at Odey Asset Management, the company he founded in 1991, where he “showed an interest in her” and invited her to return later, which “she hoped would further her career”, the prosecutor said.
No male employee was invited to the office and the woman went to Odey’s house by taxi, having assumed that his wife, Nichola Pease, would be there.
“Odey suggested ordering takeaway and going to change into something more comfortable,” Broome told the court. “He returned sometime later wearing a robe, having obviously showered. By this time the woman was somewhat concerned. She didn’t anticipate what was about to happen.
“She remembered sitting in a booth in the seat next to a table so she was blocked in. There was a seat next to her and at that point he lunged at her. He put his hand on her breast down her shirt, put his other hand on her back, then he put his other hand up her skirt.”
Odey, whose first name is Robin but uses his middle name Crispin, was supported by his wife in court. The case continues.