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Private Equity company being sued by two former gambling execs.


GBP 6 million sought after GBP400 million plan shelved

If you were wondering what happened to former Party Gaming CEO Richard Segal after he left the group some years ago, The Times newspaper in London provides the answer this week.

Segal and another erstwhile online gambling chief exec – Stephen Hill, formerly of Betfair – have been involved in the world of high finance and private equity.

The newspaper reports that the duo are suing Britain's oldest private equity company, 3i, for more than GBP 6 million over the closure of a fund that the pair were brought in to run.

Hill and Segal were apparently asked to set up and run a GBP 400 million 3i fund to invest in small to mid-cap listed equities.

The establishment of the business in 2006 was a departure for Europe's biggest listed investment group, as it had previously concentrated on taking stakes in private companies.

The Times reports that the two men joined 3i as consultants; they began investing the fund, which was listed on the London Stock Exchange as 3i Quoted Private Equity.

The Times reports that in February last (2009) year 3i told Segal and Hill that it intended to close the fund, and that the duo would lose “…certain outstanding performance payments.”

The end result is that Hill and Segal are suing 3i in the High Court in London, claiming that they are owed the equivalent of GBP 3.06 million each in shares and two years of undisclosed cash performance bonuses.

In legal documents seen by The Times, both men claim that, before joining 3i, they had “…each established themselves as highly successful businessmen with a strong track record of delivering excellent financial results in the management of a variety of large complex businesses”.

Hill, who prior to his Betfair career was a former chief executive of Financial Times Group, said that he was approached directly by Philip Yea, the former 3i chief executive, who asked him to join the fund. Hill previously worked at the private equity firm Permira and as a director of Channel 4.

Segal spent two years running the Gibraltar-based, UK-listed PartyGaming internet gambling group, where he was paid about GBP 11 million a year. He left after refusing to move to Gibraltar and shortly before the company's shares plunged amid concerns over the legality of internet gambling in the US.

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