Hong Kong billionaire and shareholder Samuel Tak Lee has launched legal proceedings against Shaftesbury over allegations and claims relating to a share placing by the REIT in December 2017.
Lee, who owns a 26.15% stake in the company, is seeking damages for alleged losses in the region of £10.4m.
In a statement released by Shaftesbury today, the company board said it was “disappointed” in Lee’s course of action.
The board said it considers the claims to “have no merit” and “intends to defend allegations robustly”.
The statement continued: “The board has also extended numerous invitations, prior to and since the placing, to enter into a dialogue with Mr Lee, yet on each occasion he has chosen not to respond or declined the opportunity to engage directly with the company.”
It marks the latest development in an 18-month spat between Lee and the Shaftesbury board, in which Lee claims Shaftesbury has undertaken non-pre-emptive placings of around 10% of its issued share capital three times over the past seven years.
Lee successfully blocked the ability of the directors to earmark new shares to selected shareholders at the company’s AGM in February this year.
However, he was unsuccessful in stopping Shaftesbury’s ability for a general rights issue and preventing the re-election of the firm’s chairman Jonathan Nicholls, chief executive Brian Bickell, and finance director Chris Ward.
A spokesperson for Lee said: “Mr Lee is a concerned investor who has serious doubts regarding the ability and desire of Shaftesbury’s board to protect shareholder value going forward.
“Although Mr Lee has declined the board’s invitations to discuss routine matters like Shaftesbury’s results, discussions about critical strategic matters like capital raisings are far more important. No reasonable board could think it acceptable to exclude a major investor like Mr Lee from such important strategic discussions.”