JPMorgan accuses firm of wrongfully enticing executives

NEW YORK Thu Oct 23, 2008 7:41pm EDT

NEW YORK Oct 23 (Reuters) - JPMorgan Chase Bank on Thursday accused a New York recruitment agency in a lawsuit of helping Citadel Investment Group LLC entice executives to leave the financial institution.

The lawsuit said that The IDW Group LLC broke its contract with JPMorgan to provide management and executive search services. The breach of contract included solicitation of Patrik Edsparr, "one of JPMorgan's most senior and valued executives on Citadel's behalf."

Filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, the lawsuit said IDW "directly or indirectly solicited, induced, recruited and enticed multiple JPMorgan employees to leave JPMorgan for positions elsewhere including at Citadel."

Representatives of neither IDW nor Citadel could immediately be reached for comment.

Edsparr, who was global head of rates, foreign exchange, securitized products, fixed-income exotics and hybrids, among other responsibilities, resigned from JPMorgan in March for Citadel. The executive had reported directly to Steve Black, the head of JPMorgan's (JPM.N) investment bank, the complaint said.

It said from January through March this year, IDW arranged several meetings between the executive and Citadel's senior management, including President and CEO Ken Griffin.

"On information and belief, IDW encouraged Edsparr to accept an offer to become a highly compensated employee of Citadel," according to the lawsuit.

Edsparr now serves as Citadel's CEO for Europe and head of global fixed income business.

JPMorgan's complaint said that after Edsparr left, between April 22 and July 11, five more employees within the investment bank -- Derek Kaufman, William King, Jorge Picazo, John Niccolai and John Naud -- resigned to join Citadel.

JPMorgan accused IDW of repeatedly breaching its obligations under four agreements signed between the two firms in 2007 and is seeking damages in a trial by jury.

It is also asking the court to prevent the agency from using or disclosing confidential, proprietary and personal information and ordering any such information to be returned to JPMorgan. (Reporting by Grant McCool; editing by Carol Bishopric)

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