The chief executive of shoe and hat retailer Genesco Inc has hit out at allegations that the company defrauded investment bank UBS after agreeing to a $1.5bn takeover by The Finish Line.

Hal N Pennington, Genesco's chairman and CEO, said on Friday (16 November) that the bankers are looking for a way out and have resorted to "mudslinging" in an attempt to get out of their contractual obligations and survive the meltdown in the credit markets.

However, UBS says Genesco was trying to sell its business "before everyone knew that its financial condition was collapsing."

The deal has suffered a series of mis-steps and increasingly acrimonious claims since it was agreed in June.

Finish Line and its lenders, UBS Loan Finance LLC and UBS Securities LLC, have repeatedly threatened to pull out amid concerns over Genesco's financial condition and performance.

In response, Nashville, Tennessee-based Genesco, owner of brands such as Journeys and Johnston & Murphy, filed a court order in September seeking closure of the takeover. The case is due to go to trial next month.