Citi Tries Moving Terra Firma Lawsuit To New York

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Citigroup Inc (C.N) on Friday said it is trying to move to London a New York lawsuit by British private equity firm Terra Firma over that firm’s purchase of music business EMI Group.

“We do not believe that the United States is the appropriate forum for this unfounded claim to be heard,” Citigroup spokeswoman Danielle Romero-Apsilos said. “The fact that we are disputing the forum in no way dilutes our assertion that the claim is without merit and we will vigorously defend ourselves regardless of jurisdiction.”

Terra Firma sued Citigroup in December, accusing the bank of fraud and asking for billions in damages in connection with the private equity firm’s 2007 purchase of EMI.

Terra Firma has accused Citigroup of inflating the price it paid for EMI by failing to reveal that the only other bidder, Cerberus Capital Management, had withdrawn hours before an auction for EMI closed.

Citi served as adviser, lender and broker to EMI and sole financier to Terra Firma, which contends it also overpaid for its debt as a result of the fraud, the lawsuit said.

Citigroup has described the lawsuit as “without merit” and said the bank would “defend ourselves vigorously.”

The lawsuit is Terra Firma Investments Ltd vs. Citigroup Inc, Case No. 603737/2009, Supreme Court of the State of New York. (Reporting by Michael Erman; editing by Carol Bishopric)