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Sports Direct's legal block on Rangers over secrets

By John Sston

Published 12/06/2015

Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley
Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley

Sports Direct has won an injunction against Rangers Football Club to prevent confidential information being revealed at a club shareholders' general meeting planned for today.

The injunction was obtained at the Chancery Division of London's High Court after Sports Direct complained that information had already been leaked to the Press.

Granting the injunction, Mrs Justice Asplin said he was "satisfied there is a real risk of disclosure of confidential information".

Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley, who has shares in Rangers and owns Newcastle United, sent his lawyers to court after the Daily Record newspaper carried reports of what the judge was told was secret information relating to commercial links between Sports Direct and Rangers which, it was claimed in court, must have come from board members.

Rangers' lawyers said there was no evidence as to the actual source of the leaks.

MASH Holdings, the company which holds Mr Ashley's 9% shareholding in Rangers, called for the meeting to discuss the immediate repayment of a £5m loan made to the club.

But media reports say that Rangers' current chairman Dave King has threatened to use the shareholders' meeting to expose the real truth of what the club's commercial contracts were with Mr Ashley's empire.

David Quest QC, appearing for Sports Direct, told the judge that confidential information had already been revealed to the Daily Record that could only have been known to people from Sports Direct and Rangers.

He said an article in the Record stated: "Rangers are ready to go to war with Mike Ashley in a bid to rip up a crippling commercial deal which includes a massive seven-year notice period."

It also stated that Mr King planned to use today's meeting "to blow the lid off secret details of the contracts handed to Ashley's retail company Sports Direct by previous Rangers owner Charles Green".

The newspaper said the new regime at Rangers "are particularly outraged at discovering the length of their contractual ties to Ashley's firm".

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