Sports Direct, the FTSE 100 retailing giant controlled by the billionaire Mike Ashley, stripped prime assets out of its stricken USC fashion subsidiary in the weeks before the chain collapsed, an investigation by the Guardian has revealed.
The episode has since seen Sports Direct’s chief executive, David Forsey, charged with a criminal offence for allegedly failing to give the 30 days’ notice required for redundancies under employment law. Forsey denies the charge. Meanwhile, Ashley has been accused of using “disgraceful and unlawful employment practices” during the incident.
The discovery follows the Guardian’s revelations on Wednesday about how the retailer’s temporary warehouse workers are subjected to an extraordinary regime of searches and surveillance, with undercover reporters unearthing evidence that thousands of workers’ pay was effectively below the minimum wage.
The company was branded a “scar on British business” by the Institute of Directors, and was criticised by some of its own shareholders. Opposition MPs demanded the company be investigated by HMRC.
Guardian article extract taken from ‘The Guardian 2015’