Tory-backing hedge fund boss charged over 1999 ‘sex assault’

One of Britain’s top hedge fund bosses is facing criminal proceedings over an alleged indecent assault on a woman more than a decade ago.

Crispin Odey, the multi-millionaire founder of Odey Asset Management, has been charged by police over an alleged attack in 1999 in Chelsea.

Harrow and Oxford-educated Odey, 61, has an estimated £846 million fortune with wife and fellow fund boss Nichola Pease.

He was an outspoken supporter of Brexit, a backer of Boris Johnson during the Conservative leadership campaign last year and has donated at least £1.7 million to the Tories over the last decade.

According to the single charge, Odey has been accused under the Sexual Offences Act 1956 with “indecently assaulting a woman over the age of 16” on July 13, 1999.

The alleged attack happened in Swan Walk, an exclusive street in Chelsea near to the Thames, where Odey owns a home and a series of his businesses are registered. His case was due to be heard at Westminster magistrates’ court next week but has been delayed by the coronavirus backlog until September 28. However, the court warned Odey’s first appearance may be pushed back even further.

Odey, who was briefly married to media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s oldest child Prudence, established his hedge fund business in 1991.

His firms have recently come under fire for betting against the pound during Brexit and capitalising on the struggles of businesses during the pandemic.

Odey declined to comment on the case when contacted by the Evening Standard.

He has yet to enter a plea to the charge of indecent assault.

Mr Odey hit the headlines in 2012 after spending £150,000 on a Palladian-style coop for his chickens at his mansion in Gloucestershire.

In March he told the Mail on Sunday he had made £115 million from the stock market crash that month, but was now betting on a recovery. He said: “The stock market has to rally because a recession has now been priced in … It’s a good time to be stock-picking.”