| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Dec 24 Exactly four years after suing
Citigroup Inc for allegedly defrauding him into buying
music company EMI Group Ltd, British financier Guy
Hands said the bank has no grounds now to deprive him of his day
in a U.S. court.
Hands' private equity firm, Terra Firma Capital Partners,
said in a filing in U.S. District Court in Manhattan on Monday
night that its decision to pursue fraud claims in the United
States and England, which Citigroup called "legal tourism," did
not justify dismissal of the U.S. case.
EMI's catalog has included artists like the Beatles, David
Bowie, Coldplay, David Guetta, Norah Jones, Kylie Minogue, Katy
Perry, Pink Floyd, Snoop Dogg and Tina Turner.
Terra Firma said the U.K. claims concern different events
and parties than the U.S. case and were pursued because of a
looming filing deadline over its 4 billion pound (now US$6.5
billion) purchase of EMI in 2007.
It said that with millions of dollars already spent,
thousands of hours of legal bills incurred, depositions done,
exhibits exchanged and hotels reserved, the third-largest U.S.
bank should head back to U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff's
courtroom as scheduled for a July 7, 2014 trial.
"The relief sought by Citi is a punitive sanction that would
deprive Terra Firma of its day in court. Such a result would be
unjust and unnecessary," wrote Terra Firma's lawyer David Boies,
a partner at Boies, Schiller & Flexner.
"Citi, one of the wealthiest and most powerful institutions
on the planet, will surely protect itself... when it puts forth
its defenses in the English courts," he added.
A new trial was scheduled after the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court
of Appeals in Manhattan voided a November 2010 verdict against
Terra Firma, which sought $2 billion in damages, saying Rakoff
instructed jurors improperly on the governing English law.
Hands claims that a Citigroup banker induced him to overpay
for EMI at the height of the buyout bubble by falsely telling
him that a high bid was needed to top a rival bidder.
After Terra Firma defaulted on some loans, Citigroup seized
EMI and sold it in pieces. The bank has denied wrongdoing and
argued that Hands sued because of buyer's remorse.
Citigroup on Tuesday called Terra Firma's actions "a
desperate attempt to get a different result. Its new claims are
as meritless as its original case, which a jury swiftly
rejected. Citi expects to prevail on the merits in any dispute
with Terra Firma concerning EMI, regardless of jurisdiction."
The case is Terra Firma Investments (GP) 2 Ltd et al v.
Citigroup Inc et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of
New York, No. 09-10459.