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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 June, 2003, 15:10 GMT 16:10 UK
City boss denies bullying
A City boss accused of bullying a senior employee into resigning said "spectacularly inappropriate and, at times, frightening things", the High Court was told.

Cantor Fitzgerald International president, Lee Amaitis has been accused of hysterically screaming obscenities at his senior managing director Steven Horkuak over six months.

Mr Horkuak, who now earns more than 300,000 a year working for Tullet plc, wants 1.5m damages for breach of contract.

He told the High Court on Thursday he wanted to take leave from work in January 1998 when his mother died of cancer.

But Mr Amaitis was unhappy because another employee's wife had just been diagnosed with leukaemia.

I've said a lot of things in my career - it's part of the passion of our sort of business
Lee Amaitis

The court heard the company president's response was: "Jesus Christ, is there some kind of... epidemic in this company?"

Mr Amaitis denied the claim and said he had not known Mr Horkulak's mother had died.

He was also accused of using abusive terms about Michael Spencer, the chief executive of arch rival firm Icap.

Mr Amaitis admitted using "some swear words around Michael Spencer".

Cantor has accused the company of poaching its staff as it tried to rebuild its business after losing 658 employees in the World Trade Centre terrorist attacks.

'Called him a vulture'

He said: "I probably called him a... vulture because that's what the tabloids used."

But he said claims he had said he was tempted by an offer to have Mr Spencer "taken care of once and for all" were "absolutely ridiculous".

Mr Horkulak's QC, Timothy Brennan said: "I'm not suggesting that you were planning to get a hitman.

"I'm suggesting that in the course of your work, you used to say spectacularly inappropriate and at times frightening things, and this is one example among many."

Mr Amaitis: "I disagree. I've said a lot of things in my career. I have sworn, shouted and yelled at employees and senior managing directors and they have shouted back at me.

"It's part of the passion of our sort of business. We are very emotional about it."

Cantor denies breach of contract and the allegation of bullying.

The firm says Mr Horkulak, 39, the firm's senior managing director and head of global interest rate derivatives, walked out in June 2000 because of a long history of stress and personality problems.

The case continues.


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