FORMER RANGERS shareholder Mike Ashley vomited into a fireplace after drinking 12 pints at a management meeting, a court has heard.
The Sports Direct and Newcastle United owner is currently being sued by finance expert at the High Court in London.
The finance expert has also claimed that Ashley, who two weeks ago sold his shares in Rangers, would also nap under tables at “boring” meetings.
Ashley is being sued over claims he did not stick to a commercial agreement that was discussed in a the Horse & Groom pub in London in 2013.
The finance expert, Jeffrey Blue, claims that Ashley promised to pay him £15 million if he used his expertise to increase Sports Direct’s share price to £8 a share.
As it turned out Mr Ashley paid him only £1 million.
Ashley’s lawyers have denied this version of events and have labelled Mr Blue’s claims as “remarkable” and described him as an “opportunistic try on”.
Ashley bought his shares in Rangers after being approached by a Mr Green and he was allegedly a business partner in the venture of a Mr Whyte, who himself was in the High Court – in Glasgow – last month where he was cleared of fraud and an offence under the Companies Act in relation to his take-over of Rangers in 2011.
Mr Blue claims that he had attended several senior management meetings at another pub, the Green Dragon pub in Alfreton, Derbyshire.
“These meetings were like no other senior management meeting I had ever attended,” he stated.
“It was effectively a ‘pub lock-in’ with alcohol continuing to be served well beyond closing hours and fish and chips or kebabs being provided throughout the evening.
“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.
“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 trips to licensed premises to meet Sports Direct top brass also occurred in at Nottingham’s Lion Hotel in Worksop.
“Meetings typically commenced in the bar area of the Lion Hotel at around 8pm, with Mr Ashley drinking at the bar while in discussions with various members of the Sports Direct senior management team,” he stated.
“Mr Ashley would frequently end up taking important Sports Direct related business decisions throughout the evening.”
The investment banker said he first met Mr Ashley when working for investment bank Merrill Lynch in 2006.
“Mr Ashley was like no other client that anyone at Merrill Lynch had ever come across,” said Mr Blue.
“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’.”
Mike Ashley has been present at the High Court case and is expected to give evidence later this week.
His lawyer, David Cavender QC, told the judge that Mr Blue’s claim was an “opportunistic try on” and in a written outline of Ashley’s case, stated hat there was “contemporaneous evidence of the purported agreement”.
Lavender stated Mr Blue’s case was that Mr Ashley had made an agreement “over a heavy drinking session at a pub”.
He said Mr Blue’s claim was “remarkable”. The hearing continues.
Mr Blue says he wants £14 million damages.
There was no evidence let as to whether Mike Ashley celebrated selling the shares Mr Green sold him last week.
This was seen as a major triumph for Rangers chairman Dave King, who was himself involved in several court battles with Ashley over the past few years.