Tuesday 10 September 2019 6:49 pm

Burford Capital rebuffs news of possible 'revenge porn' law suit

Litigation funder Burford Capital has hit back after reports it could be facing a private prosecution for an alleged breach of England’s “revenge porn” laws, in the latest development in an ongoing legal battle on both sides of the Atlantic.

It was alleged in a High Court lawsuit last month that Burford executive Daniel Hall had unlawfully traded “sensitive” documents he obtained while working for Russian shipping group Novoship for a sex tape relating to US oil billionaire Harry Sargeant. Burford and Hall both deny any wrongdoing in the case.

Read more: Litigation Capital Management bosses say Burford woes will not dampen sector

The Financial Times reported that law firm Covington & Burling has been hired by the woman featured in the tape to launch a possible private prosecution against Burford and Hall, co-head of its asset-tracing department. No such claim has yet been filed.


It is a criminal office in England and Wales to share intimate or sexual images of a person without consent with the intention of causing distress to the individual.

Hall said in a statement the video was “lawfully obtained” and “never deployed in any fashion”.

Hall had obtained a cache of hundreds of thousands of Sargeant’s emails in 2016 while contracted to pursue the billionaire over a $28.8m (£23.3m) judgement on behalf of a former business partner.

Sargeant had accused Burford of illegally accessing private material belonging to him, but a US court dismissed the claim in March.

Hall said: “The video in question was never deployed in any fashion nor distributed externally and steps were taken during subsequent litigation to anonymise the other party involved.”

“The US courts have dismissed a complaint against my conduct and our malicious prosecution claim against Sargeant is set for trial later this year,” he added.

Read more: Hargreaves Lansdown drops Burford Capital after Muddy Waters short attack


US short-seller Muddy Waters published a scathing report into Burford last month, criticising aspects of its accounting and corporate governance. Burford later said it had identified evidence consistent with “illegal market manipulation of its shares” – claims US and UK authorities are investigating.

Burford investor Caro-Kann Capital published a report rebutting Muddy Waters’ claims yesterday, accusing the short-seller of being “mistaken in their conclusions” about the litigation funder.

Main image credit: Getty

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