Harold Tillman, who yesterday bought William Baird's formal menswear division, BMB, for £19m ($27.1m), is to sue the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) under the new European Human Rights Act.

Mr Tillman said that the DTI#;s attempts to have him struck off as a company director are unfair and will use the new Act, which was integrated into English law this October to make his claim before the courts. "I'm being continually pursued unfairly because some of these issues were brought into the last proceedings," he told the Financial Times. The hearing is due to start later this month.

The DTI has argued that Mr Tillman and a colleague were in breach of their fiduciary duty as directors of Launchexcept, which had traded as the popular O-Bar cocktail bar in Wardour Street, London, and went into insolvency in 1995.

Mr Tillman has argued he was a sleeping partner in the business, and turned his attention to how the company was run only when asked about his other directorships as part of the earlier DTI proceedings.

Melvin Langley, senior partner at Langley & Partners, Launchexcept's insolvency practitioners, has supported this claim. "Mr Tillman was concerned with the administration of the company and requested us to conduct an investigation into the affairs of the company."

Mr Tillman has backed a £19m cash bid to take BMB off Baird#;s hands before the sale of the former Marks & Spencer supplier to Alchemy Partners, the venture capitalist. Peter Lucas, who has been running the division, is to become chairman and chief executive of BMB Menswear.

David Suddens, chief executive of Baird, said he was pleased with the price, £15m of which is to be paid upfront.