Phone tycoon quits over shares

One of Britain's leading businessmen and a close ally of David Cameron was forced to resign in disgrace from the company he founded yesterday for misusing shares valued at £130m.

David Ross, the co-founder of Carphone Warehouse, left his post as deputy chairman of the company after admitting that he used his holding in the business to guarantee personal loans on commercial property – thought to be a portfolio of shopping centres – without telling his colleagues.

Mr Ross, 43, now faces a possible investigation by the Financial Services Authority and is under pressure to resign as Boris Johnson's Olympics financial adviser. He may also be forced to step down from his other board positions, including his chairmanship of National Express.

The revelations will be embarrassing for Mr Cameron, who in October flew from London to West Yorkshire and back on Mr Ross's private helicopter.

Two summers ago Mr Ross also paid for a return flight for Mr Cameron from Germany, where he had attended a World Cup match. Since 2001, Mr Ross has donated £117,560 to the Tories, either to Conservative Central Office or to local branches of the party near his home in Northamptonshire.

The Carphone Warehouse chairman Charles Dunstone, who founded the company in 1989 with Mr Ross, said it was a "great personal sadness" that his schoolfriend had quit.

It later emerged that Mr Ross, who was once thought to be worth £900m, also used shares in other companies of which he is a board member as guarantees against loans without telling them.

Carphone Warehouse released a statement saying it had "received notification from David Ross ... that he had ... between 2006 and 2008 ... pledged 136.4 million ordinary shares in the company against personal loans".

It added that none of the loans was in default and that Mr Ross had "no current intention to sell any of his shares in the company".

The news caused Carphone Warehouse stock to slump by over 6 per cent in early trading. The group's share price, which has plunged 75 per cent in the past year, ended the day down 4 per cent at 89p, while shares in other companies of which Mr Ross is a board member, including Big Yellow, the self-storage group, and National Express, also fell.

The Financial Services Authority declined to comment on whether it would be investigating Mr Ross's dealings. Under the rules of the UK Listing Authority, which is part of the FSA, directors of quoted companies must make public their use of shares in those companies as security against borrowing.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
Under the skin: Sarah Kane in May 1998
theatreThe story behind a new season of Sarah Kane plays
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
Sport
Bradford City's reward for their memorable win over Chelsea is a trip to face either Sunderland or Fulham (Getty)
football
News
Lars Andersen took up archery in his mid thirties
video
Voices
Focus E15 Mothers led a protest to highlight the lack of affordable housing in London
voicesLondon’s housing crisis amounts to an abuse of human rights, says Grace Dent
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Operations & Logistics Manager

£38000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's best performing...

Recruitment Genius: GeoDatabase Specialist - Hazard Modelling

£35000 - £43000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our award-winning client is one...

Recruitment Genius: Compressed Air Pipework Installation Engineer

£15000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of Atlas ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Coordinator - Pallet Network

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Opportunity to join established...

Day In a Page

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea