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Venture capitalist is ordered to pay widow

December 13, 2006|From Bloomberg News

Neil Kadisha, a principal of venture capital firm Omninet Capital and one of the original investors in Qualcomm Inc., was ordered to pay more than $100 million in damages to a trust he managed on behalf of a friend's widow.

Kadisha must pay $95.4 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages to Dafna Uzyel and her two children, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Henry Shatford said in a ruling filed Friday.

Shatford also ordered Kadisha not to sell his Qualcomm stock or other assets before posting a bond while he appeals.

Kadisha, a former board member of San Diego-based Qualcomm and one of the 400 richest Americans in 2001 according to Forbes magazine, back-dated trial documents and promissory notes, said Samuel Krane, a lawyer for the trust's beneficiaries.

The amount of the damages was based on the increase in value of Qualcomm stock Kadisha took out of the trust in the 1990s, Krane said.

"With respect, we believe that the claims the trial court has decided in the petitioners' favor are incorrectly decided," Jason Booth, a spokesman for Kadisha, said in an e-mail. "We intend to address those claims further in the appeals court by all means available."

Kadisha increased the value of the trust to more than $27 million over 12 years from less than $6 million initially, the statement said.

The case doesn't involve Omninet and won't affect the firm's finances, Booth said.

Qualcomm spokeswoman Emily Kilpatrick didn't return a call for comment.

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