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Noble Says Ex-CEO Conspired To Form Rival

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Singapore-listed Commodity trading house Noble Group Ltd. (NOBGF) said Thursday that its former CEO Ricardo Leiman should not be given his 2011 compensation as he had pursued discussions with Brazilian bank BTG Pactual to set up a rival business immediately after leaving the company.

According to a Bloomberg report, Leiman is said to have approached Noble's its clients, counter-parties, advisers and employees seeking their cooperation, with the intention of competing with the company and with a view to solicit them. He did this in the nine months he served at Noble on a advisory basis to assist in a smooth transition.

Leiman filed a lawsuit in May 2012 against his former employer for wrongfully withholding his options and bonus for 2011.

Meanwhile, Noble has argued that the lawsuit should be dismissed as Leiman's ability to exercise his shares and options was "on condition that he had not acted in any way to the detriment of Noble."

Leiman resigned from Noble in November 2011 after the commodities trader announced its first quarterly loss for more than a decade in the third quarter due to volatile market conditions and mark-to-market losses.

He joined BTG in October 2012, and the Sao Paulo-based bank launched commodities trading in 2013 with the help of Leiman.

According to the lawsuit filed to the Singapore High Court, he is seeking an annual discretionary bonus of 3 percent of Noble's 2011 net profit, which worked out to $12.9 million based on the company's reported net profit of $431 million in 2011.

Leiman also said he was entitled to exercise rights to 67.7 million restricted shares and options in a trust.

Leiman, a 48 year old Brazilian, joined the company in March 2006 as its chief operating officer, and was promoted to CEO in April 2009.

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