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Founder sues Baltimore for dissing him

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Fran Rooney, the founder of Irish security software firm Baltimore, is taking the company to court for saying harsh things about him in public.

He is demanding an apology and damages for comments made by new CEO Bijan Khezri in a series of press briefings. These breach an 'compromise agreement', struck in May when he left the company, under which neither side would criticise the other, he says in his claim.

Khezri's barbs include a statement made to the FT in October that Rooney's salary was "outrageous".

"This company has been paying outrageous salaries. Fran Rooney was paid £450,000 ($643,500). No senior executive, including myself, shou ld be paid more than £150,000."

He also criticised Baltimore's acquisition during Rooney's tenure. Singled out was the £692m acquisition of US email security firm Content Technologies, which "did not make any sense".

Mr Khezri told the FT the deal did not "make any sense".

According to Rooney, Khezri also told reporters that Rooney's "attitude was like 'it would be a great business if we hadn't all these stupid customers to worry about... Baltimore confused the market and this confusion in the market was probably a mirror picture of confusion in Baltimore itself."

Baltimore is to defend the action.

At its peak, Baltimore was a member of the FTSE 100, capitalised at more than £5bn. The company is now worth around £100m. Content Technologies is up for sale with an estimated price tag of £40m-£50m. ®

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