Suppliers join Mike Ashley’s calls for HoF investigation

House of Fraser creditors

One of House of Fraser’s major suppliers has backed Mike Ashley’s call for an Insolvency Service investigation into its former directors.

Tea Terrace co-founder Ehab Shouly told The Sunday Times that House of Fraser’s former chairman Frank Slevin and former chief executive Alex Williamson “kept vital information from us and kept telling us that news about the impending collapse was not true”.

Shouly has now joined Mike Ashley’s demands for an investigation into the department store’s former directors, who they claim failed to disclose the extent of the retailer’s financial problems.

Last week, Ashley stated that he believed “XPO and others were totally misled by Frank Slevin and the House of Fraser board, and the demise of House of Fraser should be fully investigated.”

The calls come weeks after Ashley’s Sports Direct bought House of Fraser out of administration, at which time it owed £884 million and held a pension deficit of as much as £170 million.

Shouly claims Tea Terrace was owed £321,767 when House of Fraser went under, and added that he is “completely frustrated” by Slevin and Williamson’s behaviour, pointing out that Williamson resigned from the House of Fraser group in April, just four months before the retailer’s collapse.

Shouly said: “We find it utterly disgusting that Slevin and Williamson did not even bother to write to House of Fraser’s brand partners, who lost hundreds of millions of pounds, to apologise for the losses and damages they have caused by mismanaging the business.”

It’s also thought that Shouly isn’t alone in his calls for a probe and that a number of other House of Fraser suppliers would support an investigation into the former director’s running of the business.

Administrator EY is now set to begin talks with members of the department board’s new team later this week to discuss issues relating to the board and the events leading up to House of Fraser’s collapse.

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