Mike Ashley, the embattled founder of retail giant Sports Direct was filmed pulling a huge stack of £50 notes out of his pocket as he entered one of the group’s warehouses which have been previously described by politicians as “Victorian workhouses.”
Ashley is hosting Sports Direct’s annual general meeting at Shirebrook on Wednesday, and as part of the day, the company’s majority shareholder is taking investors and members of the press on a tour of the warehouse facility that has been at the centre of a scandal surrounding working conditions and pay within the company.
As Ashley entered the warehouse, he, like all other visitors, was subject to a search procedure and required to empty his pockets. Along with his phone and a few bits of paper, Ashley appeared to have a surprisingly large number of £50 notes in his trouser pocket:
As he did so, a reporter commented: “There’s a lot of cash there!” Ashley quickly replied by joking that he’d “been to the casino.”
Buzzfeed’s Simon Neville managed to get a video of the incident, which you can see below:
The tour of the Shirebrook facility was designed to give people a glimpse into the usually secretive facility, which had been compared to a “Victorian workhouse” in hearings during an investigation into Sports Direct’s working practices.
Legal firm RPC identified “serious shortcomings” in the firm’s working practices which its board “deeply regrets and apologises for.”
Sports Direct has been under pressure from the press, MPs, and investors for over a year, amid scrutiny of its working practices and warehouse conditions. An investigation by the UK parliament’s Business, Innovation, and Skills Committee heard shocking allegations, including that a worker was forced to give birth in a toilet cubicle at Shirebrook.