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HANDS TAKES CITI TO COURT AGAIN OVER EMI DEAL

Guy Hands, who is taking Citigroup to court in London saying they tricked him into buying EMI a decade ago, says he lost about $230m on the 2007 deal. On Thursday, day three of the trial, Citigroup charged that Hands has a “hazy memory” about his dealings, and that evidence being heard in London differs from a similar suit filed six years ago in New York.

Hands, who founded Terra Firma Capital Partners, lost a fortune and his reputation as a sharp investor after lenders seized control of the former major and sold it to Universal Music Group.

The lawsuit’s main claim is that Citi banker David Wormsley told Hands another private equity firm, Cerberus, was bidding for EMI, forcing him to raise its offer. In the end, only Terra Firma bid on the music company.

“Citi lied to me,” Hands said in court Wednesday. “The reality is that I made that investment trusting core individuals. I think most investors out there, in hindsight they will find that I should not have trusted those individuals but I did and it is the truth.”

Terra Firma, which is seeking is seeking the return of its full investment, £1.75b, sued Citigroup in New York six years ago, claiming Citigroup misled the company. Citigroup was found not liable, but an appeals court tossed the verdict.

At trial, which started Tuesday and is expected to last into July, Hands was asked about his motivations in suing the bank, and why there are no minutes from meetings in which Hands was advised on how much to bid for the company.

Hands said it was market practice for companies to share information about bids even with confidentiality agreements.

On Thursday, Hands said he did not remember a meeting with former EMI boss Eric Nicoli to discuss the price; that meeting was part of Hands’ testimony in New York.

Citi’s lawyer read Hands’ diary from May 6, 2007, which listed the meeting with Nicoli and an entry about a birthday barbecue for his daughter. Hands could also not remember who picked up the bounce castle, whether George Michael RSVP’d or who won the day’s polo match. 

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