Lord Sugar Tells Apprentice: 'You're Deluded'
Lord Sugar has hit out at Britain's "claim culture" and accused a winner of his TV show The Apprentice of lying and taking him to a tribunal "to extract money from me".
Stella English, 34, who won series six of the BBC1 show fronted by the millionaire peer in 2010, is suing him for constructive dismissal.
She was given a £100,000 role with Lord Sugar's IT division Viglen as her prize but quit the following May, complaining her job was that of an "overpaid lackey".
Ms English, of Whitstable, Kent, said she felt pressurised into taking up a new position at Lord Sugar's internet set-top box company You View.
On Wednesday she told the tribunal in east London Lord Sugar advised her in September 2011 he would not be renewing her contract and that he did not "give a s***".
Reading out his own statement, Lord Sugar said: "She is a suspicious, untrusting person and one who believes she has always been done down and places blame with others.
"I believe this claim, together with its publication in the media, is simply an attempt to extract money from me."
He said Ms English wrongly believed he was "scared" of articles about him or The Apprentice appearing in the press and that he would pay her off to avoid a hearing.
He told the tribunal: "I have no intention to pay her any money unless told to do so by the law."
Lord Sugar added that he felt strongly about "this new wave of claim culture" and had spoken on the issue in the House of Lords.
He said that within days of Ms English suddenly leaving her job in October 2011, interviews with her appeared in newspapers.
Lord Sugar dismissed her claims that she had been pressurised into taking the You View job as "total garbage" and that she had been ostracised by colleagues at Viglen as "a figment of her imagination".
In an exchange with Philippa Jackson, representing Ms English, Lord Sugar accused his former employee of lying about her version of events in a bid to generate publicity.
He said the September 2011 meeting was amicable and that he had held similar conversations with previous winners of The Apprentice to discuss their future plans.
There was no full-time job available at You View and she had already made it clear she did not want to work at Viglen, Lord Sugar added.
He said Ms English was a "serial liar" and said that with hindsight, he would not have hired her or offered her a second position when she initially resigned.
Before she accepted the You View post, a press release had already been drafted announcing that she was leaving Viglen, the tribunal was told.
"The reality is, I didn't need to do anything," Lord Sugar told the hearing, while being cross examined by Ms Jackson.
"In hindsight, and hindsight is a wonderful word, I should have said, 'bonne chance, on your way', and put out the press release.
"But worrying about her welfare - that's what annoys me about this - worrying about her moaning that she's got no money and she's in debt ... that's why I took her to You View, and it's come back and slapped me in the face."
Ms English maintains Lord Sugar did not treat her seriously and that on her first day at work she was told by Viglen chief executive Bordan Tkachuk: "There is no job." The hearing continues.