Linley boss slams rumours viscount is to quit

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The new chief executive and majority shareholder of Viscount Linley's furniture business has reacted angrily to claims that the Queen's nephew is being eased out.

Jamie Edmiston, of the luxury yacht-broking family, bought a 60 per cent stake in Linley last year, buying shares from the viscount and Russian billionaire Sergei Pugachev, known as the "cashier to the Kremlin".

Lord Linley's sale triggered speculation that he was leaving the business, but Mr Edmiston told The Independent on Sunday this was far from the truth.

"Total nonsense. We've been working extremely closely together. I've invested heavily and together we're creating an opportunity to develop this business for the next 25 years. I truly believe we can create a British Hermes."

Mr Pugachev lent the company £400,000 but authorities in Moscow are now demanding the money back after his Mezhprombank collapsed. Accounts for David Linley & Co show that the loan remains outstanding, although it has been transferred to a "third party". Mr Edmiston said the company would repay it according to the original terms, by 2014. Mr Pugachev no longer has a stake in the firm.

Mr Edmiston, 36, has invested about £4m in Linley. Sales for the year rose 20 per cent to £7m but it posted a £272,000 loss – down from a £20,000 profit the previous year. Mr Edmiston succeeded Olivier Cardon as chief executive last summer.