Billionaire and largest shareholder of Shaftesbury accuses owner of Chinatown of breaking the law

Shaftesbury owns Chinatown, Carnaby Street and Covent Garden

Samuel Tak Lee said directors breached their fiduciary duties

He said that a 265m fundraising in 2017 diluted the value of shareholders investments

Published:22:01 BST, 4 May 2019Updated:22:01 BST, 4 May 2019

The Hong Kong billionaire who is the largest shareholder ofShaftesburyhas accused directors of the West End landlord of breaking company law.

In an extraordinary attack, Samuel Tak Lee said directors breached their fiduciary duties in a 265million fundraising in 2017 that diluted the value of shareholders investments.

Lee, who has a 26 per cent stake in Shaftesbury, claims directors did not need to raise funds by issuing shares but were trying to water down his stake to make a full takeover more costly. In so doing, he alleges they were not acting in the interest of shareholders.

Shaftesbury owns Chinatown, Carnaby Street and Covent Garden

Last week, Shaftesbury, which owns Chinatown, Carnaby Street and Covent Garden, revealed that the property tycoon was claiming 10million in damages. But the FTSE 250 firm, worth 2.7billion, did not reveal that he had also accused the board of breaching fiduciary duties.

Shaftesbury has a month to respond to Lees claims, after which he has threatened legal action. If the court were to find that the directors had breached their duties they would be forced to resign.

A spokesman for Lee said: The board undertook an unnecessary capital raising for an improper purpose, damaging the value of Mr Lees then 700million interest in the company.

Last week, Shaftesbury said it did not consider Lees claims to have any merit, adding: A formal response will be made to Mr Lees lawyers in due course.

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