The former chief executive of a hospitality investment company lost an attempt to sue his investors’ lawyer for libel over a letter the attorney sent claiming the executive embezzled millions of dollars.

Frank Orenstein sued attorney Reid Figel and his law firm, Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evans & Figel in Washington, D.C., in July 2009, accusing Figel of libeling him in a letter sent to a business associate. But in a decision last week, Southern District of New York Judge Sidney Stein dismissed the complaint, holding that Figel’s statements about the former executive were protected by a qualified privilege.

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