Citi and Hands arrive in court

Steve Dinneen
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A NEW York jury was yesterday asked to decide who is lying in a dispute between Guy Hands and Citigroup over Hands’s £4bn buyout of embattled record label EMI in 2007.

Hands and his onetime Citigroup banker David Wormsley sat feet away from each other as the trial, which is expected to last three weeks, began in US District Court.

Hands’s Terra Firma accuses Wormsley and Citigroup of duping him into thinking there was a rival bid in the offing by private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management for the EMI company he coveted.
Both men are expected to testify, with Terra Firma founder Hands, 51, taking the witness stand today.

Wormsley “was playing two sides of the street at the same time,” Hands’s lawyer, David Boies, told the nine-member jury in a 45 minute-long opening statement.

Boies said email evidence to be presented by Terra Firma at the trial would show that Wormsley “secretly promised EMI to use his relationship with Guy Hands and Terra Firma to help EMI” obtain added value.

Citigroup backed the EMI acquisition with £2.6bn in loans. The £4bn deal came to epitomise the perils of highly-leveraged buyouts.

Citigroup denies the allegations.