Norfolk

Lotus to fight Dany Bahar unfair dismissal claim

Group Lotus chief executive Dany Bahar
Image caption Former chief executive Dany Bahar faced an investigation by parent company DRB-Hicom Berhad

Sports car giant Lotus is to fight a claim of £6.7m for unfair dismissal by former chief executive Dany Bahar.

The claim was lodged at the High Court in London in August and the two sides are awaiting a court hearing date.

Mr Bahar claims he was sacked to make way for the sale of the Norfolk-based firm, which would have earned him 5% of its value.

Lotus and its parent DRB-Hicom said they were entitled to dismiss Mr Bahar and the firm was not for sale.

The Group Lotus board dismissed Mr Bahar in June after an investigation into a complaint against him by the Malaysian parent company DRB-Hicom Berhad.

He was replaced by Aslam Farikullah, 51, a DRB-Hicom Berhad senior executive, but concerns were expressed the company was being offered for sale.

Mr Bahar, who had already announced an ambitious new product development plan at the Paris motor show in October 2010, learned of his dismissal in a company press release while on holiday with his family.

A hand-delivered letter of dismissal was found at his Norfolk home on his return.

Mr Bahar's three-year contract had earlier been renewed for a further period up to the end of September 2015.

In a writ presented to the High Court in London, Mr Bahar claims new terms in the contract said in the event of sale of any part or the whole of Group Lotus he would be entitled to 5% of the purchase price.

Mr Bahar claimed the new owners want to renege on this deal and had made unsubstantiated complaints against him.

DRB-Hicom Berhad had gained control of Lotus's previous owner Proton Cars in January this year.

Group Lotus and DRB Hicom have said they would not be drawn into details on Mr Bahar's claim save to note they were fully entitled to dismiss him and his claim would be vigorously defended.

A statement said: "With regards to any unfair dismissal claims, it is not our position to comment on such matters.

"DRB-Hicom and the management of Lotus are committed to Lotus and to a successful turnaround plan.

"We will not show our plans as we wish to maintain our competitive edge."

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