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Fund giant sacks analyst over council property ruse

Fund giant sacks analyst over council property ruse

‘Loss of consciousness’ and his hair ‘turning grey’ due to stress are among the claims made by a sacked Manulife Asset Management senior investment analyst, whose case against the company has been thrown out.

The unfair dismissal claim brought by Alex Kuznetsov came after he was axed for using the £290 billion asset management giant’s name to try and manipulate Camden Council and developer Rolton Group in a dispute over the compulsory purchase of his home.

Kuznetsov sent an email to the council, purporting to be acting on behalf of his then employer and deliberately sought to create the impression that Manulife could be interested in purchasing the Bacton estate, where he lived, according to the judgement documents.

He also contacted Rolton, the contractor redeveloping the Camden estate, threatening legal action and accusing the firm of negligence.  

Rolton’s managing director Allan Rose complained to Manulife, branding Kuznetsov’s demands ‘unrealistic’ and ‘unsubstantiated’.

Peter Mennie, Manulife’s chief operating officer, rejected Kuznetsov’s claim he merely wished to flag a possible buying opportunity to Manulife’s property team, noting if that were the case, he would have spoken to the property team before contacting Camden Council.

Judge James Tayler stated in his judgement: ‘In any event, it is close to farcical for the claimant to suggest that there was any likelihood of Manulife wishing to purchase a Camden council estate, where he happened to own a property.’

The episode led to an investigation into Kuznetsov’s personal business dealings.

CCTV footage found Kuznetsov conducted personal business with an unidentified individual at Manulife’s offices during working hours. He was also found to have undisclosed shareholdings in a company where he was the sole director, in breach of Manulife’s rules.

In his suit challenging his dismissal, Kuznetsov alleged he had suffered a number of both financial and health problems due to the stress of the investigation and dismissal.

These included ‘damage to his professional reputation, loss of past and future earnings for malicious and negligent detriment, anxiety and distress, hair discolouration (turning grey), loss of consciousness on two occasions and
a possible stroke.’

He also claimed he has lost the ability to serve as a director or be FCA registered again.

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