Hedge fund manager Odey pleads not guilty to indecent assault charge

LONDON (Reuters) - Crispin Odey, one of Britain’s highest-profile hedge fund managers and political donors, pleaded not guilty in court on Monday to a charge of indecent assault.

Slideshow ( 4 images )

Odey, 61, was charged in May with indecently assaulting a woman in 1998 under the Sexual Offences Act.

Appearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, the founder of Odey management spoke to confirm his name and address and deny the charge.

Prosecutor Aaron McCalister told the court that the alleged assault took place on July 13, 1998 when the fund manager brought a female bank employee back to his home in Chelsea, West London. He was said to have then changed out of his suit into a dressing gown, and allegedly put his hand inside the complainant’s shirt and up her skirt.

In a statement following the hearing, Odey said he was “pleased the magistrates have agreed to hear this historic matter quickly”.

“I look forward to hearing the facts and maintain that the allegation is untrue”.

Odey remains on bail and his trial was scheduled for Feb. 17 and 18 next year at Hendon Magistrates’ Court.

Odey was one of the biggest donors to the successful campaign to leave the European Union, and donated 10,000 pounds ($12,767.00) to Boris Johnson during his campaign to become Prime Minister.

His firm, based in London’s Mayfair district and founded in 1991, is best known for the long-short European equity fund managed by Odey.

($1 = 0.7833 pounds)

Reporting by Maiya Keidan; writing by Rachel Armstrong; editing by Carmel Crimmins