Clothing designer Elie Tahari has accused ex-business partner Andrew Rosen of "fraudulent self-dealing" connected to the sale of the Theory brand in 2003.

According to a lawsuit cited by The Wall Street Journal, Tahari said Rosen had plotted to "steal" the brand and expand it globally without Tahari, falsely claiming he was planning to retire.

Tahari is seeking US$182m in damages, the journal said.

Rosen was quoted as saying the allegations were "completely baseless".