Crispin Odey, one of the U.K.’s most prominent hedge fund managers, has been charged with indecent assault over an alleged incident that took place in 1998, according to the U.K.'s Crown Prosecution Service.
Odey, who founded Odey Asset Management in 1991, faces a single charge under the Sexual Offences Act of “indecently assaulting a woman over the age of 16” in the summer of 1998. The news first appeared in the Evening Standard newspaper. The alleged incident happened in London’s posh Chelsea neighborhood, where Odey owns a home, according to the report.
Odey is due to appear in Westminster Magistrates Court court on September 20, according to a CPS spokesman.
“The allegation is denied and I will strongly contest this matter,” Odey said through a spokesman in an email to Institutional Investor.
Odey has amassed a fortune — and notoriety — over the years for his massive macro bets, which have led to wild swings in performance. Odey’s longtime bearish stance cost him dearly over the past few years: His flagship hedge fund has posted double-digit losses in four out of the past five years, including a 49 percent loss in 2016. It is down more than 17 percent this year, according to a private database.
But Odey has also posted equally outsize gains. In 2019, he landed at No. 7 on II’s Rich List for his first and only appearance on the annual ranking of top-earning hedge fund managers. Odey earned $530 million on the back of a 53 percent gain in 2018, a year when the equity markets posted declines.
“I make money very quickly in surprising moments,” Odey told II in a June 2015 profile. “I am also quite good at losing money.”
[II Deep Dive: Crispin Odey’s Unconstrained Approach to Hedge Funds]
Odey’s wealth — the Evening Standard estimates that Odey and his fund manager wife have amassed £846 million ($1.1 billion) — has also made him a fixture in UK papers. He spent £150,000 for a chicken coop, dubbed Cluckingham Palace by British tabloids, on his country estate.
He’s also heavily involved in U.K. politics, having donated £1.7 million to the Tory party over the past decade, according to the Evening Standard. Odey was an outspoken supporter of both Brexit and the campaign of Prime Minister Boris Johnson. However, has drawn criticism for betting against the British economy, shorting British currency and government bonds in late 2018.