Stuart Rose, the chief executive of Marks & Spencer, last night resorted to the Data Protection Act in the latest twist to the escalating row between himself and Goldman Sachs, the investment bank he claims is guilty of trying to damage his reputation.
The row is poisoning the already fraught relations between M&S and the banking team, including Goldman Sachs, advising Philip Green on his proposed £8.4bn bid for M&S.
Mr Rose’s solicitors, Olswang, issued a series of disclosure notices last night under the Data Protection Act. These require recipients to disclose any personal information they may have on Mr Rose and may reveal who gained access to his mobile phone account last week.
A spokesman for Mr Rose refused to reveal whom the notices had been sent to. Mr Rose’s actions form the latest stage in a legal wrangle that has been festering between Mr Rose and Goldman Sachs since the weekend. The row erupted after reports in The Sunday Telegraph relating to a conversation Mr Rose had at the Chelsea Flower Show on 24 May with Rosemary Thorne, the finance director of Bradford & Bingley, another Goldman Sachs client. Phil Raper, a senior broker at Goldman Sachs, claimed Ms Thorne subsequently told him on four separate occasions Mr Rose had told her he was to be chairman of Mr Green’s bid vehicle. Mr Green revealed his intention to bid on 27 May. Mr Rose and Ms Thorne deny Mr Raper’s version of events.
Mr Rose wrote to Goldman Sachs on Sunday demanding a retraction, accusing the bank of “promoting an untruth, to damage my reputation and in so doing to further your proposed offer for Marks & Spencer”.
Goldman Sachs’s wrote back saying its response would be made to the Financial Services Authority, which is investigating M&S share trades.