The chief executive of a wealth management firm who is embroiled in a bitter High Court fight with British businessman John Caudwell has accused a London property developer of threatening to “break her fingers”.
Nathalie Dauriac, founder of Hay Hill Wealth Management, told the judge that Kam Babaee made the threat at a heated meeting in London in 2014 after she accused him of deceit.
Property mogul Babaee, who has previously partnered with Caudwell, heads up K10 Group – a high end property development company which operates in Mayfair and Knightsbridge.
He has 27 years’ experience in the property industry and has completed 110 projects.
In 2010, Babaee joined forces with Dragons’ Den star James Caan to launch Hamilton Bradshaw Real Estate, a London-based venture capital firm that specialises in investing in property entrepreneurs.
Details of Dauriac’s complaint about Babaee emerged during an ongoing legal battle with her former mentor and business partner Caudwell, the co-founder of mobile phone retailer Phones 4u.
The duo set up Signia Wealth in 2010 and Dauriac took on the role of chief executive. She left the firm in early 2015.
The claims against Babaee were contained in a written witness statement made David Hayes, Signia Wealth’s former executive director.
But Hayes argued Babaee had used the phrase “if you step on toes then I will step on yours” as a figure of speech.
Dauriac accused Caudwell, 65, of orchestrating an “elaborate conspiracy” against her after they launched Signia Wealth.
She said Caudwell carried out an unfair expenses investigation and sought to intimidate her by making claims about wrongdoing as a pretext to force her out of the firm.
Dauriac complained of constructive dismissal and not getting what she was due. She said she lost shares worth more than £10 million and wants compensation.
Signia bosses argued Dauriac wrongfully claimed around £30,000 expenses and that her approach to expenses claims was brazen and showed gross misconduct.
The company’s lawyer referred to Dauriac’s expense claims for flights to visit Caudwell overseas, including at his ski lodge in Vail, Colorado, and a yacht in Nice.
Caudwell told the court that Dauriac was “the most amazing liar I have ever met”.
Meanwhile, Hayes said when Dauriac was his boss at Signia she could be “contemptuous and dismissive”.
Suzette Burger left the fast-food giant in 2015 to take up a job with health and fitness company Pure Jatomi, which the court heard Caudwell had an interest in. Dauriac’s lawyers are expected to call Ms Burger to give evidence.