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Nomura hit by lawsuit

A LONDON headhunter is seeking &ldquo;a commercially absurd sum&rdquo; in a legal spat over how Nomura kept star bankers as part of its takeover of Lehman Brothers in Europe, the Japanese bank said yesterday.<br /><br />Documents filed at London&rsquo;s High Court show there is a dispute between Nomura and Hogarth Davies Lloyd.<br /><br />&ldquo;There is a dispute about the extent of HDL&rsquo;s role in the Lehman Brothers acquisition and the fee that is properly due,&rdquo; Nomura said in a statement attributed to Stephen Sidebottom, the bank&rsquo;s head of human resources in Europe.<br /><br />&ldquo;The claim is misconceived and HDL is seeking a commercially absurd sum,&rdquo; Sidebottom said.<br /><br />It is understood that the fee Hogarth is seeking could be as high as &pound;90m<br /><br />But industry experts say that as the employment deal was part of a merger, standard headhunting fees do not apply in this instance.<br /><br />Hogarth was yesterday unavailable for comment. <br /><br />The takeover of Lehman by Nomura is understood to have created a culture clash between Nomura staff and the new Lehman arrivals, especially as many of the Lehman bankers were offered long-term lucrative pay deals to prevent an exodus.