12 months for ex-City chief executive who molested two women
A former City boss has been jailed for 12 months for molesting two women in an atmosphere of "sexual bullying" likened to hit Hollywood film The Wolf Of Wall Street.
Anthony Constantinou, 35, assaulted the women during after-work drinks at or near his offices in the Heron Tower in the heart of the Square Mile.
The then chief executive of corporate business and solutions company CWM was convicted of two counts of sexual assault following a retrial at the Old Bailey.
Sentencing, Judge Nicholas Cooke QC said: "Sexual bullying in the workplace blights lives.
"There are eminently foreseeable consequences."
The court heard that in October 2014, Constantinou pushed a woman up against the frosted glass of the reception area and went on to grope and kiss her against her will.
Then in February last year, while on bail for the attack, he assaulted another woman during drinks after a business meeting.
During the meeting, Constantinou threw her mobile against a wall and told her: ''Don't answer phones in my meeting.''
Later that night, he picked up a big chunk of hot wasabi paste and shoved it in her mouth, remarking to colleagues that she had a ''cracking arse and tits''.
At one point Constantinou went over and grabbed the woman, saying he could "get with her, kiss her and do what he wanted with her" because she did not work for the company, prosecutor Eloise Marshall said.
After the wasabi was forced into her mouth, she immediately left the room and spat it into her hands.
He treated her in a "disgusting and derogatory" manner and thrust his tongue in her mouth as if she was "a piece of meat", the court heard.
The woman was hustled out of the office but Constantinou reappeared and asked where she was going.
He told her: "Don't ever f*** with me... "
Referring to a female member of staff he said she "has worked for me for years - I pay her so much f****** money".
He added: "People like you, you're not going to get anywhere if you f*** people over."
On the Hollywood film about New York traders, the woman said: ''It's literally like the film Wolf Of Wall Street. I just cannot believe it because you never ever think stuff - you never hear - you hear about trading floors but you never see it. So I am kind of going like 'this is getting out of hand'.''
Constantinou, of Wildwood Road, Barnet, north London, denied all the accusations against him but declined to give evidence.
His legal team put the wasabi incident put down to brash behaviour and said it had been exaggerated by the woman.
The first victim said in a statement that she feared Constaninou would "ridicule" her as she outlined the effect on her.
She said: "The very fact I continue to feel this shows the psychological trauma this man has put me through."
Before the incident she was a "confident and ambitious" woman and now would "tremble and twitch" at the thought of getting on a train and going to the City.
She said: "I live in hope that I can find a way to put these emotions to bed and continue with my life."
The other victim said she felt "vulnerable" and found the trial "emotionally draining".
She said: "If I could rewind time and never gone to that meeting, I would in a heartbeat."
In mitigation, Miranda Moore QC said Constantinou was currently working for his wife and living in rented accommodation.
Ms Moore said that, even though he had been painted as a "capricious, volatile woman- hater", Constantinou was not "all bad".
Referring to the murder of Constantinou's father when he was young, the judge said it had no bearing on the case.
Ms Moore said the tragedy had "followed him his whole life and was a burden he has had to bear".
Constantinou had worked for a pharmaceutical company for two years before getting his first job in the City.
Ms Moore suggested that, after becoming a chief executive, he maybe had "too much power too young".
His Cypriot wife, Penny, with whom he has two young children, supported him in court throughout the trial and appealed to the judge in a letter.
The prosecution asked for more than £27,000 in costs from Constantinou, who funded his defence privately.
Constantinou made no reaction as he was sent down after the judge refused his lawyer's plea for a suspended sentence.
Detective Inspector Anna Rice, from City of London Police, said: "Constantinou clearly thought that his demeaning, intimidating behaviour was acceptable and today's sentence has shown this is simply not the case.
"I'd like to praise these women for their courage in reporting these offences to the police and throughout the trial, and I would encourage anyone else in a similar situation to contact police."