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Sacked PlusNet boss blasts BT sale 'stitch up'

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Exclusive The ousted boss of PlusNet has branded its management liars and new owner BT deceitful in an angry email sent to former colleagues at the ISP.

The extraordinary missive, obtained by The Register, was fired off by Lee Strafford on Sunday evening. He was sacked from PlusNet in March this year after being accused of plotting to launch a rival business following its £67m acquisition by BT.

Strafford denied the allegation at the time and reasserts his innocence in his email, saying: "I have been hurt but not surprised by hearing about the way my reputation has been attacked since my departure." He writes that the principles the firm stood for have been "shat on" and that he has been "stitched up" by other executives.

A sellout to BT had long been the strategy, Strafford writes, and he had expected to leave PlusNet following the deal, but under happier circumstances.

"I did not foresee that the senior management team would once again forsake doing things the right way for their individual weakness, ego, greed and personal ambition - more fool me eh.

"Lets see if they are happy to tell their lies not just in dislosures but in a tribunal hearing and ultimalty in a high court." The claims of Strafford setting up a rival business appeared in the Financial Times via anonymous sources on 7 March. More from the FT here.

Strafford was boss at the Sheffield firm from 2000 until his sacking. Any PlusNet staff known to associate with him are also threatened with dismissal, he claims.

When we contacted Strafford about the email he confirmed he had written it but did not want to add anything further. He said: "I'm in a legal process currently and wouldn't want to do or say anything to undermine that.

"I'm holding the high ground currently and really don't want to lose that."

On Monday, PlusNet said acting CEO Neil Laycock would permanently replace Strafford. The ISP has been attempting to restore its reputation with customers following a series of technical cockups both before and after the BT acquisition.

PlusNet and BT refused to comment on Strafford's look back in anger.

We've published the whole thing on the next page. Financial rubberneckers will be interested by the table at the bottom detailing Strafford's renumeration package throughout his time at PlusNet. ®

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