Colin Veitch, the former chief executive of Norwegian Cruise Line, has taken action to sue Sir Richard Branson and his Virgin Group enterprise for allegedly stealing his business plans and ideas to enter the luxury cruise industry.
The lawsuit filed in federal court, Miami, Florida, claimed that in 2011, Mr Veitch and Virgin Group signed an agreement to collaborate on the creation of the new Virgin cruise line that would launch two new luxury vessels.
However, Mr Veitch alleged that the agreement was scrapped and Sir Richard carried out the initiative under new terms.
The former Norwegian boss, who oversaw the cruise line from 2000 to 2008, is adamant that he could have earned up to $314 million (£209 million) if the initial deal had been given the go-ahead.
He is seeking more than $300 million in damages from Mr Branson and Virgin Group. The lawsuit also demands that the development of Virgin Cruise Line be put on hold.
It is being argued that by agreeing to the original contract, scrapping it and then moving forward with Mr Vetich’s plans anyway, Virgin Group is guilty of theft.
A Virgin spokesman said: “Richard Branson and the Virgin Group first looked at the cruise market in the late 1970s, and our current team has been exploring the opportunity for more than a decade.
“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.”
Virgin plans to break into the luxury cruise industry with two vessels that will carry around 4,500 passengers each. They are due to offer a series of sailings from the homeport of Miami.
In a further twist to the story images and computer animated designs (CAD’s) of how Virgin had imagined their ships to look were today leaked today via social media after they were presented in court.
That looks a lot like a simulated skydiving tube in a swimming pool to us – What do you think?
Is it just us or do Virgin’s plans for their cruise ships look a lot like their trains?
What do you think of the new plans? Are you a fan? Do you hope Sir Richard gets the chance to build them?