Tennant to quit Morgan Stanley as Christie's scandal rumbles on

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The Independent Online

Sir Anthony Tennant, a pillar of the British business establishment and the former chairman of Christie's International, is to retire from his post at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter in the wake of the price-fixing scandal at the auction house.

Sir Anthony Tennant, a pillar of the British business establishment and the former chairman of Christie's International, is to retire from his post at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter in the wake of the price-fixing scandal at the auction house.

Since 1993, Sir Anthony has been senior adviser at Morgan Stanley, working for its European investment banking operation. He is to retire from that position at the end of this month. Internally, he let his intention to retire be known about two months ago. Morgan Stanley refused to comment yesterday.

It is understood that Sir Anthony has cited old age - he is 70 - as the reason for his retirement. Morgan Stanley has no retirement age, so there was no need for him to leave at this point.

From 1993 to 1996, he was chairman of Christie's. During that period, it is alleged by the US Department of Justice, that it colluded with Sotheby's, its fellow auctioneer, over the commissions they charged for their services.

Sir Anthony has been named in civil litigation over the affair. He has denied any involvement in price-fixing or knowledge that it was going on.

Sir Anthony, the Eton and Cambridge-educated former chief executive of Guinness, was knighted in 1992. He was credited with a revival in the fortunes of Guinness, after the shares-dealing scandal at the drinks company in the 1980s.

His role at the London office of Morgan Stanley, where he reported to John Studzinski, head of investment banking in Europe, was full-time.

Although Sir Anthony was not a career banker, his post at Morgan Stanley involved using the contacts built up over a long business career. He looked for new opportunities for the bank and made introductions.

Other top investment banks have people in similar roles. For instance, UBS Warburg employs Lord Brittan of Spennithorne, the Tory grandee and former European Commissioner, to do a similar job.

Sotheby's and Alfred Taubman, its former chairman, are to pay $326m (£225m) to settle price-fixing complaints brought by its customers and shareholders in the United States.

Lawyers for Christie's International are also thought to have agreed to pay $256m to settle similar claims.

Unlike some other former directors at the auction houses, Sir Anthony does not face criminal charges. Mr Taubman faces possible indictment and Diane Brooks, the former chief executive of Sotheby's, has pleaded guilty to one charge of conspiring to fix prices and faces a possible prison sentence.

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