Belfast Telegraph

Sports Direct investors block £11 million back payment to Mike Ashley’s brother

Shareholders have voted 70.7% against a proposal to pay John Ashley £11 million.

Shareholders in Sports Direct have dealt chief executive Mike Ashley a bloody nose after overwhelmingly opposing plans to hand his brother an £11 million back payment.

Independent investors voted 70.7% against the proposal designed to bring the pay of John Ashley – a former IT director at Sports Direct – in line with other senior executives who helped build the company.

The scandal-hit retailer had called a general meeting at its Shirebrook headquarters in response to a joint investigation by its legal advisers RPC and accountants Smith & Williamson.

The findings of the probe claim John Ashley had not been given the extra money he was owed while working for Sports Direct because of concerns over public relations.

While Sports Direct’s billionaire founder Mike Ashley and the rest of the board abstained from voting, they were “supportive” of John Ashley being given the money.

In a statement, Sports Direct said: “The board trusts that shareholders will welcome the steps taken to reassure them that John Ashley did not benefit inappropriately from being the brother of majority shareholder Mike Ashley.

“In fact, John was actually disadvantaged by approximately £11 million after he forewent bonuses that he would have received if he were treated equally to other executives who helped to build the company.

“By voluntarily abstaining from voting on this issue, the board has provided the company’s independent shareholders the opportunity to determine whether or not to make a retrospective payment to John Ashley.

“The board respects the views of the company’s independent shareholders, and considers all these matters to be closed. We now intend to move on.”

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