Heir to JCB fortune launches multi-million pound lawsuit against his former best friend

Dig deep! The heir to the JCB fortune is launching a multi-million pound lawsuit against his former best friend and business partner amid a bitter spending slump that saw him admit to ordering cannabis and sending explicit photos via e -mail

  • JCB boss’ son Jo Bamford sues former best friend Joseph Manheim
  • The case is related to the ownership of a company they started together in the United States
  • Mr Bamford accused Mr Manheim of withdrawing £4.4m from the business
  • Mr Bamford admitted to ordering cannabis online and sending ‘explicit photos’
  • Lawyers for JCB and Lord Bamford said the proceedings had no connection with the firm or him










An heir to the JCB empire is locked in a multi-million pound court battle which reportedly saw him admit to ordering cannabis online and sending ‘explicit photos’.

Jo Bamford, the son of billionaire boss and Tory donor Lord Bamford, is suing his former best friend for business ownership in the United States.

The case has seen Mr Bamford’s business dealings come under scrutiny and exposed alleged tensions in one of Britain’s most powerful industrial families.

Mr Bamford, 44, is a ‘green entrepreneur’ whose companies have won taxpayer-funded contracts worth nearly £80million for zero-emission buses in England and Northern Ireland.

But in the United States, he is in conflict with his best friend since his teenage years, Joseph Manheim, over a company they created together.

Jo Bamford (pictured right with Alex Gore Brown), the son of billionaire JCB boss and Tory donor Lord Bamford, is locked in a multi-million pound court battle with his former best friend

The couple were once so close that Mr Manheim and his wife vacationed with Mr Bamford during their honeymoon. They were godparents to each other’s children.

Mr Bamford and another manager accused Mr Manheim of ‘surreptitiously’ taking control of the business and then withdrawing £4.4million from it.

He denies the allegation and accuses Mr Bamford of trying to use the case to carry out a ‘bloodless coup’ to take control of the business himself.

In his testimony, Mr Bamford admitted that he had used the company’s email accounts to order cannabis through the Craigslist website, and that he had used his work email to send “inappropriate and explicit photographs “, reported The Guardian.

He and another manager accused Mr Manheim of using company funds for outings to a Philadelphia strip club called Delilah’s Den, to rent a Porsche and to cover the cost of attending a game. polo in Argentina. In court, Mr Bamford confirmed he had ‘reluctantly left the family business’ in 2016 after a ‘difficult and painful conversation’ with his father.

Mr Bamford is suing his former best friend Joseph Manheim (pictured in 1998) in a row over US business ownership

Mr Bamford is suing his former best friend Joseph Manheim (pictured in 1998) in a row over US business ownership

Lord Bamford, 76, is one of Britain’s most successful industrialists and his fortune has been estimated at £4.6billion.

The Guardian reported that Mr Bamford told the court: ‘My dad didn’t want to stop running the business and I didn’t want him to stop running the business. And I really didn’t want to be Prince Charles, I didn’t want to wait for the rest of my life. I wanted to go run my own business.

The court case involves a company that Mr. Manheim founded in 2012 with start-up capital provided by Mr. Bamford.

Mr Bamford (left) is pictured alongside his father, JCB boss Lord Bamford.  Lawyers acting jointly for JCB, Lord Bamford and Jo Bamford said the US legal proceedings had no connection with the digger company or the peer.

Mr Bamford (left) is pictured alongside his father, JCB boss Lord Bamford. Lawyers acting jointly for JCB, Lord Bamford and Jo Bamford said the US legal proceedings had no connection with the digger company or the peer.

The company, Delaware Valley Regional Center, has helped wealthy investors from the Far East quickly obtain visas to live and work in the United States, in exchange for investing in infrastructure projects.

But in 2018, Mr. Manheim and the other directors agreed to remove Mr. Bamford from the board of a holding company. Mr Bamford, a classic car fan, claims he was unlawfully evicted. He seeks damages and asks that Mr. Manheim be removed from the board and replaced by a director.

Both men deny any wrongdoing and a final judgment in the case is not expected until next year.

Lawyers acting jointly for JCB, Lord Bamford and Jo Bamford said the US legal proceedings had no connection with the digger company or the peer.

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