Crispin Odey, one of the UK’s best-known hedge fund managers, on Monday pleaded not guilty to a charge of indecent assault.
Mr Odey, 61, who is the founder of Mayfair-based Odey Asset Management, appeared at a hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court to deny the charge, which relates to an alleged incident at his home address in Swan Walk, Chelsea in July 1998.
Prosecutor Aaron McCalister told the court that Mr Odey put on a dressing gown before “launching himself” at the woman, an employee of an investment bank.
Mr Odey, who wore a dark suit and sat in the dock behind a glass screen, is now on conditional bail until the trial at Hendon Magistrates’ Court in February.
“I am pleased that the magistrates have agreed to hear this historic matter quickly,” Mr Odey said in a statement.
“I look forward to having the facts heard and maintain the allegation is untrue.”
Mr Odey, along with wife Nichola Pease, who also attended the hearing, has an estimated fortune of £825m, according to the Sunday Times Rich List. He is a donor to the Conservative party and contributed to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s leadership campaign, and is a vocal supporter of Brexit.
Oxford-educated Mr Odey made large gains from bets against some UK stocks and a bet on gold at the time of the 2016 Brexit referendum, but ultimately finished the year down almost 50 per cent.
Mr Odey set up his eponymous firm in 1991. His flagship European fund, which trades stocks and bonds, lost money earlier this year betting against electric car maker Tesla and is now down around 20 per cent in 2020, according to investors.