Phones 4u founder asked business partner to promise not to have children, High Court hears

Nathalie Dauriac, 39, locked in legal battle with John Caudwell, 65, over unfair dismissal from Sigma Wealth Management, the company they founded despite her rejecting his 'condition'

Brian Farmer
Thursday 26 October 2017 11:11
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French financial expert Nathalie Dauriac arriving at the Rolls Building in London to give evidence in a High Court dispute against billionaire businessman John Caudwell
French financial expert Nathalie Dauriac arriving at the Rolls Building in London to give evidence in a High Court dispute against billionaire businessman John Caudwell

A French financial expert has told a judge that a British entrepreneur asked her to undertake not to have children when they were setting up a business together eight years ago.

Nathalie Dauriac, 39, told Mr Justice Marcus Smith that she did not agree to John Caudwell's “condition”. But she said she agreed not to have children until the new business was “firmly established”.

She said she now had children aged five and three.

Ms Dauriac and Mr Caudwell, 65, founder of the mobile phone retailer Phones 4u, are embroiled in a money battle at a High Court trial in London.

She says he orchestrated an “elaborate conspiracy” against her after they set up a wealth management company.

Ms Dauriac says Mr Caudwell launched an “unfair” expenses investigation when she was chief executive at Signia Wealth Management.

She has complained of constructive dismissal and not getting what she was due.

Ms Dauriac says she lost shares worth more than £10 million and wants compensation.

Signia bosses say Ms Dauriac wrongfully claimed around £30,000 expenses. They say her approach to expenses claims was brazen and she was guilty of gross misconduct.

All sides dispute allegations made against them.

“Mr Caudwell had asked me... as a last-minute condition of jointly setting up the business, to give an undertaking to him not to have children, a proposal which I did not agree to,” Ms Dauriac told Mr Justice Smith in a written witness statement.

“However, I did agree that I would only have children once the business was firmly established and when we both agreed it was growing and successful (which is what I did).”

Ms Dauriac said they reached an “understanding” that she would “always put the business as a top priority in my life”.

PA

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