Alleging extortion, 3M sues British investment firmby Martin Moylan, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — 3M has sued a British investment firm and its CEO, charging they have tried to extort $30 million from the Maplewood-based company.
The alleged extortion involves 3M's decision to cancel a deal to promote technology developed by a company purchased from Porton Capital and an organization controlled by the British Ministry of Defense. The company 3M bought said it had developed a fast and inexpensive way to detect so-called hospital superbugs. But 3M showed the product didn't perform as promised. Porton sued 3M, claiming breach of contract.
In its lawsuit, 3M charges Porton and its investors have threatened to interfere with 3M's business pursuits in the U.K. and engaged in a campaign to "blackmail 3M and its CEO."
Porton CEO Harvey Boulter said 3M's allegations are false and 3M is misrepresenting negotiations to reach an out-of-court settlement.
"To somehow spin our good-faith participation in that negotiation as some sort of blackmail or extortion is just shameful on their behalf," Boulter said.