PIMCO escalated its legal battle with estranged co-founder Bill Gross by saying he leaked confidential pay information to the media and may have destroyed documents in violation of court rules.
Pacific Investment Management Co. made the allegation ahead of a Friday court hearing on Mr. Gross’ lawsuit accusing the company of forcing him to resign so it wouldn’t have pay him a bonus. Mr. Gross is asking a judge to order PIMCO to provide him with internal documents he says he needs to prove his case.
“Discovery has revealed that Mr. Gross went so far as to leak confidential PIMCO compensation data to the news media after he left the company,” PIMCO said in the filing Tuesday, “as part of his sad obsession with attacking his former employer and colleagues.”
Mr. Gross also may have improperly destroyed documents relevant to his lawsuit, according to the filing in California state court in Santa Ana.
In a document from Mr. Gross’ lawyer included in the filing, Mr. Gross said he provided the bonus information to a Bloomberg reporter. He said that PIMCO didn’t have a right to take any adverse action against him for disclosing the information.
PIMCO said Mr. Gross leaked the information in November 2014, after he had left the company and was working for Janus Capital Group.
Mr. Gross, 72, last week accused the Newport Beach, Calif.-based asset management firm of “bad faith obstruction” for withholding potential evidence about its investment strategy and its compensation practices. Mr. Gross argues that information will support his claims that other management directors wanted his share of the bonus pool after he’d had a falling out with them over PIMCO’s move into more risky investments.
“PIMCO’s latest motion is an effort to deflect blame from its litigation misconduct by making off-topic insults and baseless accusations against our client,” Mr. Gross’ attorney, Patricia Glaser, said in an e-mailed statement. “The only party trying play ‘hide the ball’ is PIMCO.”
PIMCO has argued that Mr. Gross’ broad demand for records of all PIMCO’s interactions with government regulators and every meeting of its most senior executives over the past five years is irrelevant to the narrow employment claims at stake in the lawsuit. The company also claims that disclosing executive compensation files would violate the privacy rights of people not involved in the lawsuit.
Bloomberg reported in November 2014, two months after Mr. Gross left the firm, that he received a bonus of about $290 million in 2013. Other bonuses reported for 2013 included $230 million for Mohamed El-Erian, PIMCO’s then-chief executive officer, $70 million for Daniel Ivascyn, who succeeded Mr. Gross as chief investment officer, and $45 million for Douglas Hodge, who succeeded Mr. El-Erian as CEO. Mr. El-Erian, who is now chief economic adviser to PIMCO’s parent, Allianz SE, is also a Bloomberg View contributor.
Mr. Gross now runs the Janus Global Unconstrained Bond Fund.
In Tuesday’s request for a court order that Mr. Gross needs to produce documents he has so far held back, PIMCO alleges that a subpoena to Janus turned up e-mails between Janus CEO Richard Weil and Mr. Gross regarding his departure from PIMCO, which Mr. Gross himself didn’t turn over, as well as a personal e-mail account Mr. Gross hadn’t disclosed.
According to PIMCO, Mr. Gross claims that he only has printouts of most of the e-mails he has given the company so far, which indicates that he may have deleted the electronic versions with the associated metadata even after he was required to preserve these because of the litigation.