HomeUncategorizedSex Trafficking Allegations Shake $134 Million U.K. Family Office

Sex Trafficking Allegations Shake $134 Million U.K. Family Office

The investment firm for Hamish Ogston, one of Britain’s richest finance figures, is caught in the fallout from sexual-trafficking allegations against him.

Money manager Partners Capital has terminated its relationship with Ogston’s family office, known as Milton Magna, according to people with knowledge of the matter. 

At least one Milton Magna executive has also cut ties, resigning from the firm after an investigation by the Sunday Times alleged the multimillionaire engaged in the exploitation of Southeast Asian sex workers for the past 15 years. 

A representative for Ogston, 75, didn’t respond to a request for comment. 

Ogston told the Sunday Times that he didn’t recognize the portrayal of his private life in the allegations and denied that his behavior amounts to exploiting vulnerable women. British police have said they are reviewing the allegations.

Milton Magna manages about £110 million ($134 million) of investments for Ogston, who founded insurance-services firm CPP Group Plc, according to latest filings.

Partners Capital, which oversees about $53 billion for endowments, foundations and rich families worldwide, is taking steps to remove the family office as an investor in one of its funds, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified as the details are private. Partners Capital declined to comment. 

Benedikt von Michel quit last month as Milton Magna’s chief investment officer on the same day the allegations were published due to the nature and scale of the claims, another person with knowledge of the matter said.

No Prior Knowledge

Von Michel, 47, a former Schroders Plc analyst who joined Milton Magna in 2018, had no prior knowledge of the claims and held the role on a part-time basis that involved working mostly from home, the person said. 

Von Michel declined to comment.

Partners Capital terminated its relationship with Ogston’s family office as soon as the allegations came to light, the person said.

Milton Magna invested £2.2 million in a private equity fund for Partners Capital through 2022 and had pledged about half that sum in additional commitments, regulatory filings show.

Its largest disclosed external investment as of year-end was £2.7 million in a fund from UK private equity firm Hanover Investors. It also invested about £2 million in a private debt fund from Union Bancaire Privee, the Swiss bank that has handled lending arrangements for the family office, the filings show.

Representatives for Hanover and Union Bancaire Privee declined to comment.

Before the sex-trafficking allegations, Ogston was best known for his charitable work and building CPP into a major UK insurance business. He received about £110 million through selling about a third of his stake in the company when it listed on the London Stock Exchange in 2010. CPP’s stock has since dropped more than 99%. He has pledged to leave most of his wealth to charity and gave £25,000 to the Conservative Party in 2017.

Ogston set up Milton Magna in 2012. Around the same time, UK regulators fined CPP over how customers were sold identity-theft and card-protection policies, with the company acknowledging “significant” prior failings. The regulatory actions led to a plunge in the company’s share price and the firm engaging with Ogston over a possible take-private deal. Ogston resigned as a CPP director in 2013 after walking away from the talks. 

The family office, which once managed almost £185 million, has seen its assets decline as Ogston stepped up his philanthropic giving.

One of the beneficiaries, English Heritage, a charity that manages historic buildings in the UK, has since rejected an £11.2 million August pledge by Ogston following the Sunday Times story, which relied on about 1,000 leaked documents for its story. The sum marked the largest donation ever pledged to English Heritage.

CPP has also distanced itself from its founder, stressing how Ogston has no involvement in the Leeds, England-based company beyond being a major shareholder. Meantime, CPP Chairman David Morrison has ceased to be Ogston’s representative on the company’s board.

Ogston has since stepped down as a trustee of his namesake foundation to allow the charitable entity to continue its work. The Hamish Ogston Foundation has committed to donations of more than £40 million in the past three years and intends to honor existing pledges, according to a statement on its website.


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