Billionaire Mike Ashley said he brought his lawsuit against Morgan Stanley because he was concerned with how “grotesquely and unfairly” the bank had acted during a margin call rather than the potential damages.

The retail tycoon made the comments as a witness in a London court, where his firm Frasers Group Plc sued the US bank for imposing a $995 million margin call on his derivatives trade positions in Hugo Boss AG shares in May 2021. The deposit demand hit him like a “nuclear bomb,” leaving him in disbelief and frustration, he told the court during two days of testimony. The bank acted in part on account of “snobbery,” he said.

It was “horrific, just unthinkable, impossible,” Ashley said referring to the margin call. Ashley’s firm has sought about $50 million in damages.

Morgan Stanley has sought to counter the lawsuitn calling Frasers’ claim divorced from reality. The retailer didn’t suffer any loss when it transferred the trades away from Morgan Stanley, the US bank’s lawyers said. “Frasers has embarked on lawfare against Morgan Stanley on an extraordinary scale,” the lawyers said.

Ashley denied he derived pleasure from litigating and said the case was not personal. Before the dispute arose in May 2021, Morgan Stanley was unwilling to offer corporate and advisory services to Frasers because of Ashley’s reputation, “deserved or otherwise,” for being litigious among other reasons, the bank’s lawyers have said.

“I can assure you there is no pleasure in litigation,” Ashley said responding to a question. “If you end up in a position that you own one of the country’s biggest football clubs it comes with the territory,” he said.

Ashley and his firm have been involved in court cases ranging from defamation against a national newspaper to drunken promises over a bonus worth millions made in a London pub. He also fought his former friend over a Dubai bar-room incident and funded a court challenge to unravel a deal to save a department store chains operator.

“I don’t think I’m an over-litigious person,” he said. “If anything I would try to avoid it. It’s not a pleasant experience.” 

A spokesperson for Morgan Stanley declined to comment on the testimony. “Frasers has never been a client of Morgan Stanley. This claim is contrived and without merit and we will defend it vigorously,” he had previously said. Lawyers for Frasers declined to comment.

This article was provided by Bloomberg News.