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Sports Direct's Mike Ashley 'drank 12 pints with vodka chasers then vomited into fireplace at company meeting'

The businessman would also reportedly express his boredom during meetings by lying down to 'take a nap' under the table

Ben Chapman
Monday 03 July 2017 22:25 BST
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'Mr Ashley was like no other client that anyone at Merrill Lynch had ever come across,' finance expert Jeffrey Blue said
'Mr Ashley was like no other client that anyone at Merrill Lynch had ever come across,' finance expert Jeffrey Blue said (Getty)

Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley reportedly once vomited in a pub fireplace at a company meeting after drinking 12 pints of lager with vodka chasers, a court has heard.

Finance expert Jeffrey Blue is suing Mr Ashley, who he claims reneged on a £15m deal the pair allegedly made at another boozy meeting in the Horse and Groom pub in Fitzrovia, London, during 2013.

Mr Blue says Mr Ashley regularly held meetings in pubs. During one such meeting Mr Ashley promised to pay him £15m if Sports Direct's share price doubled to £8, the BBC reports.

The shares passed the target price in February 2014 but Mr Blue claims the billionaire Sports Direct founder only paid him £1m. Mr Ashley disputes the claim which his lawyers describe as an “opportunistic try-on”.

After a series of scandals, Sports Direct shares have now slumped to below £3.

“These meetings were like no other senior management meeting I had ever attended in all my years of investment banking experience,” said Mr Blue, who first met Mr Ashley while working at Merrill Lynch.

The atmosphere was like a “pub lock-in”, the financier, who later began working for Sports Direct, is reported to have said.

“On one such evening, in front of his senior management team, Mr Ashley challenged a young Polish analyst in my team, Pawel Pawlowski, to a drinking competition," London’s High Court heard.

”Mr Ashley and Pawel would drink pints of lager, with vodka chasers between each pint, and the first to leave the bar area for whatever reason was declared the loser.

“After approximately 12 pints and chasers Pawel apologised profusely and had to excuse himself.

”Mr Ashley then vomited into the fireplace located in the centre of the bar, to huge applause from his senior management team.“

Mr Blue added: ”Mr Ashley was like no other client that anyone at Merrill Lynch had ever come across.

"By way of example, his ability to express boredom and frustration during client meetings knew no limits, including various episodes where he would lie underneath meeting room tables to 'have a nap'."

The hearing continues.

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