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'Corrupt' co-founder was allowed to seize Signia, says director

'Corrupt' co-founder was allowed to seize Signia, says director

Signia Wealth co-founder Nathalie Dauriac was described as ‘corrupt’ and ‘confrontational and uncooperative’ in testimony given on the second day of a bitter court battle.

The former Coutts wealth adviser is currently in court in a civil case over her departure from Signia in early 2015.

The business has accused Dauriac of reporting more than £33,000 in personal expenses as business costs before she left the business, which she had launched with Phones 4U founder John Caudwell

Dauriac (pictured) denies the allegation and counter-claimed that she was forced out of the after having £10 million of equity in the business expropriated. 

In a statement, Signia director David Canfield told the court Dauriac ‘objected to any intervention from anyone else’ in management of the business and was ‘evasive’ saying it was hard to get information on the business ‘because of Nathalie’s control,’ according to a report in the Guardian.  

Taking the stand, he agreed under questioning by Thomas Plewman QC, representing Dauriac, that he had allowed the business to be managed on an ‘informal basis’ without regular board updates because of the close relationship between the two founders.

He disputed Plewman’s contention that his ‘real complaint is that this cut you out’.

Lawyers acting for Signia previously told the court that Dauriac had altered references to personal costs, including a trip to Málaga to celebrate a friend’s birthday, gifts for her daughter and former husband, and photographs at a ski resort where she had been on holiday with Caudwell, in order to bill them to the company. 

Dauriac said those allegations had been used 'as a means of punishment for her raising an allegation that Caudwell used false invoices to avoid VAT,' and that she would offer evidence that Cauldwell 'likes to set bonuses high and then find a way to fire employees'. 

Cauldwell was described as a 'puppetmaster' who had staged the enquiry to force Dauriac out while offering her only a nominal fee for her 49% stake in the enterprise.  

The trial continues.  

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