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Dany Bahar sues DRB Hicom

Article below was published in UK's The Telegraph.

Former Lotus boss Dany Bahar seeks £6.7m (RM32 million) for unfair dismissal

Dany Bahar, the former chief executive of Group Lotus who was fired in June, has filed a £6.7m (RM32 million) law suit against the owner of the sports car manufacturer for unfair dismissal. 

By , Chief Business Correspondent

DRB Hicom, the Malaysian company that owns the loss-making British sports and racing car maker, said in a stockmarket filing in Kuala Lumpur that it had received the legal filing last week - and would “vigorously” defend it.

“Dany Bahar was dismissed after an investigation into his stewardship of Lotus,” DRB said in the statement. “We believe we have acted properly at all times.” 
The statement added: “DRB-Hicom and Lotus will vigorously oppose and/or defend the claim by Bahar, including filing counter-claims against Bahar.” 
Mr Bahar, 40, who formerly worked at Ferrari and the drinks maker Red Bull, was suspended from Lotus in May to facilitate an investigation into a complaint about his conduct”. The complaint was unspecified though insiders said it was over Mr Bahar’s expenses. He was sacked in June. 

The car maker has been in the sights of Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary, the billionaire who controls DRB, ever since he acquired Lotus in January. The sports car maker came with his purchaser of Proton Holdings - the former Malysian state autogroup. Proton bought a controlling stake in Lotus in 1996. 

Having gradually lost market share to Ferrari and Porsche, Lotus has become a drag on DRB’s financial results. 

Mr Bahar, who is suing for loss of earnings, was hired in 2009 from Ferrari where he was vice president to turn the business around. 

He launched a five-year plan in 2010 which focused on driving sales in China and other emerging markets, as Ferrari has done. He also unveiled plans to launch five new models, starting with the Esprit next year. Mr Bahar recently pledged that Lotus would break even by 2014. 

DRB’s shares fell. Lotus did not return calls seeking comment.

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