The man behind the entire Virgin Brand, Sir Richard Branson is reportedly being taken to court over claims he stole the idea for Virgin Cruises.
On Wednesday, a former Norwegian Cruise Line executive, Colin Veitch filed a suit against Branson at a Federal District Court in Florida.
In it the former CEO alleged that in 2010 he pitched the idea for a fleet of ships that would offer the same luxurious ‘ultra’ liner cruise ships featuring plush furnishings and amenities, NY Times reported.
He said he took the idea to the Virgin founder after pitching it to the Allen & company – a boutique investment bank.
Branson is said to have seen potential in the idea and the two started working on securing finances.
However, negotiations for the idea allegedly fell through because the two sides disagreed on how they would split profits.
He continued, claiming Branson then stole his idea and shut him out of further negotiations and a deal that could have made him millions.
After studying the market, Veitch, who left Norwegian in 2008, found no other cruise liner exclusively focuses on super luxury.
“It would be like the Bellagio hotel when it crashed onto the scene in Las Vegas.”
“In 2012, it began to dawn on them that this was going to be a real winner, that this was going to be potentially the biggest, most profitable business in their portfolio.”
However, when the two couldn’t reach a solution, Veitch said the deal fell through and Virgin asked him to sign a non-disclosure agreement.
But when Branson released details of Virgin Cruises to the world last year, Veitch saw similarities between the new cruise line and his project.
“What the ship looks like is much less significant than the shape of the deal. You can tell by the amount of money they are raising that is not something they looked at before.”
However, a Virgin spokesperson told The Telegraph that Branson has been looking into the cruise market since the late 1970s
“Over the years, we have been in discussions with a number of parties including the plaintiff, and those discussions ceased in 2012. We strongly believe the claim has no merits.”
News of lawsuit comes less than a day after Branson penned an open letter to Indonesia’s president asking to remove the execution penalty for drug trafficking.
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