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Symphony Capital Sued by Ex-Fund Manager Over Bonus

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(Corrects reference to relationship between Symphony Capital Partners and Symphony International Holdings in third paragraph and removes references to investments in ninth paragraph.)

Oct. 7 (Bloomberg) -- Symphony Capital Partners Ltd., the Singapore private equity firm that sold its stake in hospital operator Parkway Holdings Ltd. in 2008, was sued by a former partner who claims he was deprived of a share of the profit.

Sanjay Sehgal, who left Symphony in mid-2005 after almost ten years with the firm, claims in his complaint he’s entitled to a $4.4 million bonus, which includes a share of the profit from the sale to Parkway. A hearing of the case began in Singapore’s High Court today.

Sehgal’s bonus was rightfully reduced by 60 percent, according to the terms of his contract, Symphony, whose management team founded London-listed Symphony International Holdings Ltd., said in court documents. Symphony Capital had offered him $1.3 million, to be paid in June, ten years after the fund that originally invested in Parkway closed.

Symphony Chairman Anil Thadani asked Sehgal to sign a release which had “arbitrary, unreasonable and draconian” terms before the $1.3 million bonus would be paid, according to the lawsuit. Sehgal refused and sought to limit the terms of the release, he said.

Thadani and Sehgal declined to comment.

Sehgal, who had been employed by LEK Consulting in the U.S., said in the court documents his main inducement to joining Symphony in 1994 was a promise that partners would share in 20 percent of the firm’s profits.

Asia Pacific Fund II

At Symphony, Sehgal managed the Asia Pacific Fund II and Schroder Ventures Asia Pacific Fund, which invested in Asia’s largest hospital operator Parkway. The Parkway stake was sold to Khazanah Nasional Bhd., Malaysia’s state investment arm for S$532 million ($407 million) in 2008.

Sehgal set up the private equity fund East West Capital Partners after leaving Symphony.

Thadani is one of the founders of the luxury Aman Resorts hotel chain.

Suresh Damodara and Leonard Hazra represent Sehgal while Eddee Ng is acting for Symphony.

The case is Sehgal Sanjay Kumar v Symphony Capital Partners Ltd. S625/2009 in the Singapore High Court.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrea Tan in Singapore at atan17@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Douglas Wong at dwong19@bloomberg.net

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