Mike Ashley’s brother could stand to receive an £11 million payout following an internal review at Sports Direct which suggested he had been underpaid during a contentious business deal.
John Ashley was revealed last year to be handling deliveries for the Sports Direct outside of the UK through his company Barlin Delivery Limited, but this arrangement had not been disclosed in the retailer’s annual report.
Sports Direct hired law firm RPC to review John Ashley’s history with the company and how much he had been paid for his services.
According to an RPC stock exchange statement, conducted with accountants Smith & Williamson, if John Ashley had been treated equally as other senior executives, he was owed £11 million.
He reportedly previously denied this because of fears about public relations surrounding the retailer at the time.
Majority shareholder and founder Mike Ashley has opted to abstain from the shareholder vote on whether his brother, who built the IT systems for Sports Direct from scratch, should receive the payout.
Concerns over corporate governance have dogged the retailer ever since it was revealed last year that it was paying workers less than minimum wage.
Since then nepotism concerns have also arisen as Mike Ashley’s daughter’s boyfriend was put in charge of the retailer’s property firm and John Ashley’s connections were revealed.
“I fully expect that independent shareholders will vote against this proposal due to the passage of time involved, although in my opinion, technically the money is owed and therefore should be paid,” Mike Ashley said.
“It’s important for me to say that if John had owed £1 to Sports Direct, I would have ensured any sum was repaid in full.
“I hope shareholders will therefore be reassured that everything is in order and that any concerns are laid to rest.”