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Judge rules on Tuesday against Mike Ashley and Sports Direct – Orders key documents to be produced

3 years ago

Mike Ashley clearly believes he can do whatever he wants when it comes to running his business empire.

The multi-billionaire not impressed when football fans, MPs, or the law, come into conflict with him.

Whether it is Newcastle United or Sports Direct and associated brands, it all comes the same to Mike Ashley.

His and his companies’ business practices are coming under ever increasing scrutiny and Sports Direct were recently named the least reputable retailer in the UK. The Reputation Institute said Sports Direct scored poorly on four counts, which are workplace, governance, citizenship and leadership.

On Wednesday, the Sports Direct AGM takes place with shareholders getting their one opportunity of the year to question those running the show.

Despite being Chief Executive, founder of the company, and controlling the company with two thirds of the shares, Mike Ashley has refused to attend.

However, a number of Newcastle fans will be there, both outside and inside the AGM, with some having recently bought nominal amounts of shares so that they can attend this Sports Direct AGM. It may seem a little fanciful to suggest that this could be a reason for Mike Ashley running  scared from attending his own company’s AGM but who knows in the cavalier ignorant way he runs his empire.

The Sports Direct AGM comes on the back of the company share price dropping by 10% in the past month, which is bad enough, but now on Tuesday, it has suddenly plunged another 5% (as at 2pm Tuesday 11 September).

This coincides with Sports Direct and Mike Ashley having experienced yet another embarrassing defeat in the courts.

On Tuesday in the High Court, Mr Justice Arnold has ruled that Sports Direct were justifiably criticised by lawyers representing a financial watchdog, which wanted documents staff thought would help in an investigation.

Lawyers representing the Financial Reporting Council said Sports Direct’s approach was “one of obfuscation and delay verging on obstruction”, with Mr Justice Arnold agreeing.

The High Court judge has now ordered Sports Direct to produce a number of documents wanted by the Financial Reporting Council.

The Financial Reporting Council is investigating the conduct of auditing firm Grant Thornton in relation to the audit of 2016 Sports Direct financial statements.

The Financial Reporting Council lawyers had complained that Sport Direct had “failed to comply” when required to provide documents, leaving them no alternative but to go to court and as for “compelling compliance.”

The judge publishing his ruling today on the case, in which he said the criticism of Sports Direct was justified.

Newcastle fans believe that the more bad publicity they can help bring to Sports Direct and Mike Ashley, the more chance there will be of him thinking that Newcastle United is more trouble than it is worth.

Though when it comes to bringing about bad publicity, Mike Ashley is more than capable of doing that all by himself.


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