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The former colleague Best Buy CEO Corie Barry has been accused of having an inappropriate relationship with has denied the allegation.

In a short e-mail to the Star Tribune, Karl Sanft wrote: "The anonymous allegation that I had an affair with Corie Barry is false." He said he had no further comment.

Richfield-based Best Buy has selected an outside law firm, Sidley Austin, to conduct an independent review of the charges made in an anonymous letter that its board received last month. The letter claims that Barry, who held several positions at Best Buy before becoming chief executive in June, had an affair with Sanft, who was most recently senior vice president of U.S. retail operations for the electronics retailer.

Sanft left the company in March and is now chief operating officer for 24 Hour Fitness, based in San Ramon, Calif.

According to the letter, Sanft was Barry's boss for a time earlier in her career. If they did have an inappropriate relationship, it's not yet clear if any company policies were violated.

On Monday, Best Buy declined to comment beyond the statement it issued after the anonymous letter was sent to media organizations. The company said then that it takes allegations of misconduct seriously and will have nothing more to say until after the review is concluded.

Barry issued a statement then, too, saying the board has her full cooperation and support in the inquiry and that she looks forward to its resolution.

Kavita Kumar • 612-673-4113