Pimco says Bill Gross has ‘sad obsession’ with former firm

Financial manager and investment author who co-founded Pacific Investment Management (PIMCO), one of the largest in the world.

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Bill Gross

Pimco asked a California court on September 13 to force Gross to turn over emails sent from a private account Pimco says he had used to discuss his 2014 Pimco departure with his new employer, Janus Capital Group. In Pimco’s filing, the firm’s lawyers also accused the bond investor of harbouring a “sad obsession with attacking his former employer and colleagues”.

“Pimco’s latest motion is an effort to deflect blame from its litigation misconduct by making off-topic insults and baseless accusations against our client,” Patricia Glaser, Gross’s lawyer, said in a statement on September 14. “The only party trying to play ‘hide the ball’ is Pimco.”

Last week, Gross accused Pimco of gamesmanship over the scheduling of depositions with key executives at the California money manager.

The duelling filings escalated the pretrial rhetoric over a legal tangle between one of the asset-management industry’s best-known people and the firm he once personified. Gross abruptly left Pimco in September 2014 amid simmering tensions with his colleagues, and last year sued the manager for at least $ 200 million in damages, alleging he was forced out.

Gross’s lawyers wrote last week in court documents that Pimco had victimised their client twice – first during his ouster and now “within the lawsuit itself.” On September 13, Pimco said Gross’s “misconduct during the discovery phase suggests he did not know what he was getting himself into”.

Pimco’s lawyers in their September 13 filing accused Gross of withholding initially the existence of an AOL email account they had discovered through document requests to Janus. They also accused him of anonymously mailing to a Bloomberg News reporter confidential information on the 2013 compensation of key Pimco executives, including chief investment officer Dan Ivascyn, former chief executive Mohamed El-Erian and CEO Doug Hodge.

A Bloomberg spokesman declined to comment.

Gross’s lawyers responded to Pimco’s lawyers earlier this month by acknowledging he had sent a redacted version of the pay document to a reporter and shared it with “8-9 Pimco managing directors” in August or September of 2014, Pimco said in its filing.

Pimco had confronted Gross’s lawyers earlier this year with details on the leaks, accusing their client of being the anonymous source.

The court is slated to hear from both sides of the suit this Friday, and the trial is scheduled to begin in August 2017.

Gross’s lawyers argued in a court filing that Pimco had no right to take action against Gross for sharing the pay information, noting his actions were protected by the First Amendment and the National Labor Relations Act.

Write to Justin Baer at justin.baer@wsj.com

This article was published by The Wall Street Journal

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