Richard Eden: Heir to Dunhill Tobacco Empire Reignites Legal Battle with Former Friend

Bintano
5 Min Read

Until a year or two ago, they were as thick as thieves. So it must have seemed natural to venture into business together.

One, the son of a judge, had the aptitude for statistical analysis, while the other — scion of a family synonymous with commercial success — was blessed with the persistent charm needed for wooing clients.

But any chance their friendship could be saved has surely been snuffed out by the latest salvo in the vitriolic High Court battle between Charles Karsten, 31, and Piers Dunhill, 29, great-great grandson of tobacco magnate Alfred Dunhill.

In his legal response to Karsten’s High Court claim, Dunhill alleges in his defence that Karsten directed a ‘persistent, oppressive, two-year campaign of harassment’ against him, ‘setting up and publishing highly defamatory YouTube channels and websites’ — one of the latter being entitled piersdunhillconman.com.

Additionally, Dunhill, in his defence and counterclaim, alleges Karsten sent him a ‘barrage of messages’, one of which, it’s claimed, read: ‘My army . . . is now preparing for war . . . Be prepared to be beaten harder than you have been beaten legally and prepare to be in the dustbin of history.’ 

Piers Dunhill, a tobacco magnate heir has sparked a fresh lurid legal fight with a former friend. Pictured at Dunhill Ventures Raising Impact at Blu Mar in Southampton, New York on August 23

Piers Dunhill, a tobacco magnate heir has sparked a fresh lurid legal fight with a former friend. Pictured at Dunhill Ventures Raising Impact at Blu Mar in Southampton, New York on August 23

Charles Karsten (pictured) is engaged in a legal battle with his previous business partner Piers Dunhill

Charles Karsten (pictured) is engaged in a legal battle with his previous business partner Piers Dunhill

Others, sent to Dunhill and his mother, allegedly called him a ‘loser and thief’ and falsely accused him of ‘fraud and tax evasion’. 

Karsten, it is claimed, also sent a ‘private video’ to Dunhill and members of his family, accompanied by the message: ‘Has Conny seen this . . . pretty embarrassing . . . who would want you . . . Don’t say I didn’t warn you.’ Thereafter, state the legal documents, other videos appeared on a specially created YouTube channel, one of which was ‘falsely headed: ‘Piers Dunhill is Off His Face on Drugs.’ ‘

Another message sent to Dunhill’s mother allegedly stated: ‘Piers Dunhill . . . is fundamentally a fraud and conman who lies about his wealth and his investors, both of which, it appears to me, are practically non-existent’.

Karsten allegedly then sent Dunhill ‘a pornographic photograph of a man having sex with a woman from behind’, and demanded Dunhill pay him ÂŁ100,000 ‘to secure the . . . removal of the [defamatory] website’.

Last year I revealed Karsten had brought legal proceedings against Dunhill, accusing his friend of almost exactly what Dunhill now accuses him of: creating websites which pumped out false and defamatory allegations — including a claim that Karsten pimped out his ‘filthy slag’ and ‘slut’ sisters, and was a ‘fraudster’, ‘buffoon’ and a ‘dishonest, incompetent, vulgar individual’.

Dunhill, who says he has suffered distress and has turned to a therapist, admits he did threaten to set up a website, conman charleskarsten.com, which would be ‘100x worse’, so Karsten knew ‘how it feels’, claiming he did so as a result of the ‘relentless harassment’ he suffered. But he insists he took no action, and believes any website defaming Karsten that appeared was the work of ‘Malaysian scammers’, of whom, Dunhill says, he too fell foul.

Dunhill says he paid £2,500 to Karsten to take down piersdunhillconman.com. Karsten, he alleges, complied — but then put it back online and demanded a further £100,000 for its removal.

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