BrewDog CEO James Watts takes woman, 29, to court for ‘fraud and dishonesty’

BrewDog CEO James Watts takes woman, 29, to court for 'fraud and dishonesty' 2

BrewDog CEO James Watts takes woman, 29, to court for ‘fraud and dishonesty’ accusing her of making ‘malicious’ comments about him on Instagram

  • James Watt, 38, has accused Emili Ziem, 29, of fraud by false representation
  • Allegedly ‘obtained information’ on people behind ‘malicious communications’
  • Ziem is a Brazilian and Japanese citizen but has an address listed in East Lothian
  • Model is accused of ‘intending to make a gain, namely for yourself or another’
  • She ‘vehemently denies wrongdoing and intends to defend these allegations’

The boss of BrewDog is privately prosecuting a woman he claims provided false information about people behind ‘malicious’ comments made about him online.

James Watt, 38, chief executive of Britain’s biggest craft brewer, has accused model Emili Ziem, 29, at Westminster Magistrates’ Court of fraud by false representation.

The charge alleges that she breached the Fraud Act 2006 because she ‘obtained information about people responsible for malicious communications’ about Mr Watt.

James Watt

Emili Ziem

James Watt (left), 38, chief executive of Britain’s biggest craft brewer Brewdog, has accused Emili Ziem (right), 29, at Westminster Magistrates’ Court of fraud by false representation

Ziem is a Brazilian and Japanese citizen but has a UK address listed in South Queensferry

Ziem is a Brazilian and Japanese citizen but has a UK address listed in South Queensferry

Ziem – who is a Brazilian and Japanese citizen but has an address listed on court papers in South Queensferry, East Lothian – was accused in court of ‘intending to make a gain, namely for yourself or another’ between May 1 and July 1 last year.

She also faces a second charge of ‘sending a letter, communication or article conveying false information’ under the Malicious Communications Act 1988.

This relates to alleged posts on Instagram under the name ‘Laurakeller341’ which ‘conveyed information which was false and which you knew or believed to be false’.

The charge – dating between May 1 and July 31 last year – says it was ‘for the purpose of causing distress or anxiety to the recipient or to any other person to whom you intended that it or its contents or nature should be communicated’.

Ziem has been accused in court of 'intending to make a gain, namely for yourself or another'

Ziem has been accused in court of ‘intending to make a gain, namely for yourself or another’

Emili Ziem

Emili Ziem

Ziem is charged with ‘sending a letter, communication or article conveying false information’

The Guardian reported that Ziem has no permanent UK address and gave an address in Norway during a pre-trial hearing at the court. She was granted bail.

The case has been brought against her as a private prosecution by Watt as an individual rather than Brewdog as a company, which he co-founded in 2007.

The firm based in Ellon, Scotland – which is valued at about £2billion, runs 111 bars and has 2,000 staff – is said to be currently weighing up a stock market listing.

The Crown Prosecution Service has not brought the case against Ziem, but could still take it over if it wishes – and it also has the power to stop it from going ahead.

Brewdog co-founder James Watt received an MBE for services to the brewing industry, and his wife Johanna Basford received an OBE for services to art and entrepreneurship, at an investiture at Buckingham Palace in London in November 2016

Brewdog co-founder James Watt received an MBE for services to the brewing industry, and his wife Johanna Basford received an OBE for services to art and entrepreneurship, at an investiture at Buckingham Palace in London in November 2016

Brewdog is Britain's biggest craft brewer and is based in this building in Ellon, Scotland

Brewdog is Britain’s biggest craft brewer and is based in this building in Ellon, Scotland

A statement made by legal firm Bark & Co on behalf of its client Ziem and sent to MailOnline today said: ‘Emili Ziem is entirely innocent of these charges.

‘She vehemently denies any wrongdoing and intends to defend these allegations robustly at trial in the crown court.

‘On legal advice, Emili will not comment on the specifics of the allegations whilst the proceedings are ongoing.’

A spokesman for Watt told MailOnline: ‘We cannot comment on a live criminal case.’

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