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Baugur boss to defend himself 'fully' in $2bn lawsuit

Former Baugur boss Jon Asgeir Johannesson has said that he will defend himself against the claims made by Glitnir that he “looted” the nationalised Icelandic bank ahead of its collapse in 2008.

A statement released today by financial PR Kraeb Gavin Anderson said: “Mr Johannesson fully intends to defend himself against the claims made by Glitnir Bank and reiterates his innocence in relation to all the false allegations made.”

It added that it would not comment further while legal proceedings are underway.

The statement confirmed that Johannesson has stood down from the board of House of Fraser, a decision “taken with regret in order to avoid any unwarranted damage being caused” to the company while he defends himself against the claims.

Johannesson does not own any shares in House of Fraser.

Glitnir last week launched a $2bn (£1.3bn) lawsuit against Johannesson in the US and the UK High Court froze his worldwide assets.

The winding-up board of Icelandic bank Glitnir accused Johannesson of  a “sweeping conspiracy” to “fraudulently drain over $2bn out of the bank” when he was its leading shareholder before its collapse in 2008.

At the height of its power, Baugur controlled a swathe of the UK high street including Oasis, Warehouse, Karen Millen, Whistles and held stakes in publicly-listed businesses Debenhams and French Connection, until Baugur also collapsed in the wake of the Icelandic financial crisis.

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