$1.3b tech tycoon ‘had meetings in hot tub’

A tech tycoon sexually assaulted two female employees and organised business meetings in hot tubs and steam rooms, it was claimed.

Lawrence Jones, 51, who is worth around £700 million ($A1.32 billion), was a guest at Prince Harry and Meghan's wedding in May 2018.

The dad-of-four was allegedly inappropriately physical with employees - often young women working as PAs or receptionists.

Staff claim it included tickling, hugging, stroking around the waist, or patting on the bottom.

One worker, aged 20 when recruited, claimed Jones took her to an adult shop, thrust a sex toy in her face then asked her to gift wrap a sex swing and lingerie.

Another said Jones, known as Loz or LJ, spilt a glass of water on her lap and asked: "Am I making you wet?"

Jones was recently listed among the UK's 250 richest and his cloud computing company UKFast named one of Britain's top ten places to work.

He has holidays with Sir Richard Branson, was photographed arm-in-arm with Boris Johnson at the Conservative conference and has donated £100,000 ($A190,000) to the Tories political party since 2017.

One male ex-worker, who called the firm "misogynistic", said: "He would be encouraging people to sit on his knee or cuddle up next to him."

One alleged victim said she was molested by Jones at Sir Richard's luxury Swiss chalet, The Lodge.

Another said bowls of condoms were dotted around the Christmas party, the Financial Times reports.

The allegations emerged after the Financial Times (FT) investigation which reportedly involved interviews with more than 30 former employees.

Jones allegedly assaulted two women who worked for him in the past 10 years and has been accused of widespread misconduct in the workplace.

The report says a number of former employees accused Jones of sexual harassment, unwanted touching, bullying and verbal abuse. All lived in fear of retaliation from the tech tycoon and only spoke to the global publication on the condition of anonymity.

Jones categorically denies claims of any unlawful behaviour and declared they are wholly untrue.

"They are also hurtful and damaging, especially to my wife, our family, and the UKFast team," he said, according to FT.

"We have dedicated 20 years of our lives to UKFast and we are hugely proud of how amazing the business that we have built together is."

The billionaire set up UKFast in a spare bedroom 20 years ago, which is now Britain's largest privately owned hosting provider with five data centres providing IT services to nearly 6000 companies in the UK.

UKFast was last year valued at $A763 million with Jones and his wife each owning a 30.9 per cent stake.

This makes him the eighth-richest person from Wales, according to the Sunday Times Rich List.

This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission



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