Seen at last – the shadowy figure at the heart of £7bn EMI feud

Elusive Citigroup financier David Wormsley appears in court

Guy Hands, the British private equity financier, took to the witness box yesterday on the second day of his bid to prove he was tricked into paying too much for the music company EMI.

The second day of the trial brought his publicity-shy former friend, David Wormsley, the head of Citigroup's UK investment arm, out into the open for the first time since Mr Hands alleged that Mr Wormsley deceived him into paying too much for the label – which counts Robbie Williams and Coldplay among its biggest acts.

Mr Hands told the New York court that he paid £4.2bn in an auction for the 113-year-old music giant at the height of the credit bubble after he was told that another buyer was planning to bid. Mr Hands, 51, claimed that Mr Wormsley had told him in May 2007 that another private equity firm, Cerberus, still wanted to buy EMI – a call, he said, which was "incredibly important" in the decision of his firm, Terra Firma, to buy the label.

Terra Firma's case centres on three alleged telephone calls between the two men over the weekend of 19 and 20 May 2007, as the 21 May deadline to buy EMI loomed.

It eventually paid 265p per share for EMI in the belief Cerberus would offer 262 pence per share, but the rival bid did not exist, the nine-member jury heard.

"He told me that Cerberus was there at 262 and that it was very important we had to get in," claimed Mr Hands of Mr Wormsley, his former drinking partner. "He told me not to play any games with the price."

Asked by his lawyer, David Boies. about his relationship with the banker, Mr Hands said: "On a personal level there was someone who was a friend and with whom we had worked with successfully over very many years."

Citigroup, which financed the buy-out with loans totalling £2.6bn, denies Terra Firma's allegations that Mr Wormsley or the bank lied to or tricked Mr Hands.

The bank argues that Terra Firma sued only after realising the deal had gone badly. On the first day of the trial, Theodore V Wells, Citigroup's chief lawyer, told jurors: "Mr Hands thought he had the golden touch, and he did for quite a while – until he bought EMI."

Yesterday, another lawyer representing Citigroup questioned Tim Pryce, a senior executive at Terra Firma, about a lack of documentary reference to the May 2007 phone calls. Asked whether any document in the "millions" of pages produced for the trial mentioned the alleged calls between Mr Hands and Mr Wormsley, Mr Pryce confirmed that none did.

Mr Wormsley is expected to give evidence later in the trial, which is one of the highest-profile legal showdowns since the financial crisis, and could take up to three weeks.

Terra Firma is seeking in the region of £7bn in damages.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Ashdown Group: IT Manager / Development Manager - NW London - £58k + 15% bonus

£50000 - £667000 per annum + excellent benefits : Ashdown Group: IT Manager / ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant / Telemarketer - OTE £20,000

£13000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Scotland's leading life insuran...

Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manager - City, London

£40000 - £45000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manag...

Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...