Logo
    Search

    111: Footies #5: The Challenging Mr Odey

    enJune 09, 2024

    Podcast Summary

    • Sexual misconduct allegations against Chris BenoniProminent London financial figure Chris Benoni, worth around £800m, faced sexual misconduct allegations from 13 women. His hedge fund managed up to 1.13 billion pounds, but allegations led to a significant shift in public perception.

      Chris Benoni, a prominent figure in the London financial scene and founder of OD Asset Management, was accused of sexual misconduct by 13 women. Despite his divisive reputation as a maverick and risk-taker, Benoni's hedge fund firm managed up to 1.13 billion pounds at its peak, with Benoni himself reportedly worth around £800m. The investigation into these allegations brought reporters Paul Karanagalitsya of Tortoise and Antonia Kundi of Financial Times to the Paul Foot Award shortlist. Benoni's success in high-risk investments led to both significant gains and devastating losses, but his personal wealth and outspoken political views made him a divisive figure in the city. The allegations against him marked a significant shift in public perception of this larger-than-life figure.

    • Sexual misconduct in the financial industryAn investigation into a financial figure's conduct for potential inside information led to multiple allegations of sexual assault and harassment, bringing attention to the issue of sexual misconduct in the industry and emphasizing the importance of reporting such incidents.

      The investigation into Chris Binodie's conduct began with a report on his hosting a private lunch with a business secretary, which led to allegations of sexual misconduct against him. The story took a different turn when a woman came forward with an allegation of sexual assault against Binodie, and similar allegations from other women followed. The Financial Times (FT) became involved in the investigation due to the reporter's previous knowledge of Binodie from her time covering the asset management beat. The FT had also previously reported on sexual misconduct allegations against other high-profile figures. The initial report in The Times was about potential influence and inside information, but the story evolved into an investigation of Binodie's conduct, leading to multiple allegations of sexual assault and harassment. The investigation was significant as it brought attention to the issue of sexual misconduct in the financial industry and highlighted the importance of reporting such allegations.

    • Reporting sexual misconductRequires great care and sensitivity, stacking up factual evidence, protecting sources, and ensuring their comfort, with potential legal implications

      Reporting on allegations of sexual misconduct requires great care and sensitivity. In this specific case, multiple allegations against a named individual came to light around the same time, starting with a personal connection and a separate journalistic investigation. The challenges of reporting such stories include stacking up factual evidence, protecting sources, and ensuring their comfort and understanding of the process. Currently, the accused individual has issued a libel claim against the Financial Times, which could potentially lead to a lawsuit within the one-year limitation period. This underscores the importance of thorough reporting and legal consideration when handling allegations of this nature.

    • Reporting on sensitive allegationsBalancing journalistic rigor and sensitivity towards sources is crucial when reporting on sensitive allegations. Building strong relationships and asking for corroborating evidence takes time.

      Reporting on sensitive allegations involves a delicate balance between journalistic rigor and sensitivity towards sources. Journalists must adhere to high editorial standards, asking for corroborating evidence and witness statements while being gentle and sensitive to sources who have often experienced trauma. This process can take months and requires building strong relationships. Balancing the need to test evidence with the duty of care towards sources is a challenging task, especially when doubting a person's account. Ultimately, journalists must approach these stories with the same level of rigor as law enforcement while being more sensitive and gentle than they would be.

    • Consequences of investigative journalismPublishing investigative journalism stories on allegations of sexual misconduct in private settings can lead to significant consequences for those involved, including removal from the firm, loss of key banking partners, and the eventual winding down of the business, as well as prompting additional women to come forward with similar allegations.

      Investigative journalism, especially when it comes to reporting on allegations of sexual misconduct in private settings, can have significant consequences. The lack of documentary evidence and the emotional nature of the allegations make these stories particularly challenging. However, when a reputable publication decides to publish such a story, the fallout can be swift and severe. In this case, the publication of allegations against a hedge fund founder led to his removal from the firm, the loss of key banking partners, and the eventual winding down of the business. The story also prompted additional women to come forward with similar allegations. The decision to publish requires a careful balance of available evidence and the potential impact on those involved, but the consequences can be far-reaching.

    • Sexual harassment in financeFormer executive Chris Benoudi faced multiple allegations of sexual harassment, some dating back to the 1980s. Despite being acquitted of assault, he breached a final warning from his firm and is under ongoing FCA investigation.

      Chris Benoudi, a former executive at OD Asset Management, has faced multiple allegations of sexual assault and harassment, some of which date back to the 1980s. Despite being acquitted of assault in a criminal case a year prior, Benoudi was found to have breached a final written warning from his firm regarding inappropriate behavior towards female employees. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) had been investigating OD Asset Management for its handling of sexual harassment complaints against Benoudi, but after the firm disbanded, the FCA closed its investigation into the company. Benoudi himself remains under investigation by the FCA. The allegations against Benoudi span several decades and involve multiple women, who have accused him of groping and inappropriate touching. Despite some denials and explanations, such as claiming he had been given anesthetic at the dentist when an incident occurred, the mounting evidence against him has led to his removal from the firm and ongoing investigation. The case highlights the importance of addressing and investigating allegations of sexual misconduct in the workplace, as well as the potential long-term consequences for individuals and organizations involved.

    • Workplace misconduct and leadership13 of 20 women who reported workplace misconduct against ODS were in management positions, highlighting the importance of holding leaders accountable for addressing and preventing misconduct

      During an investigation, 13 out of 20 women who came forward with allegations against a financial firm, ODS, were current or former employees in management positions. These women were disappointed when the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) dropped the investigation, as they believed senior executives were aware of the problematic behavior of a colleague named Odie and did not take sufficient action to stop it. The victims felt that the lack of accountability for those in positions of power was a significant issue, even if the firm had grievance and harassment procedures in place. The meticulously reported story on this topic highlights the importance of addressing workplace misconduct, particularly when it involves those in leadership roles.

    Recent Episodes from Page 94: The Private Eye Podcast

    109: The Footies #3: Taking the OPIS

    109: The Footies #3: Taking the OPIS
    Humberto Rocha of the Oil Price Information Service on some dodgy dealing in Big Carbon... in part three of our new investigative mini-series interviewing the investigative reporters behind six remarkable pieces of journalism shortlisted for this year’s Paul Foot Award. 

    107: Paul Foot Awards Special #1

    107: Paul Foot Awards Special #1
    A brand new mini-series from Page 94: interviews with the reporters behind six remarkable pieces of investigative journalism, all shortlisted for the prestigious Paul Foot Award 2024. Today, Tristan Kirk of the Evening Standard on the scandal of the Single Justice Procedure.

    106: A Washed Up Government

    106: A Washed Up Government
    The team discuss the laws that are being shoved through parliament before the electoral iron curtain descends (and those that are being left on the other side), plus an update from Richard Brooks on the latest goings-on at the Post Office inquiry.