Debenhams Investigation 'Obviously In The Public Interest'? More Obviously Not

Posted on Aug 03, 2021. by NTI

Billy came into the office looking disgusting this morning (Tuesday 3 August). This was of no particular surprise to anyone, but Aarati is right; he really did look more dishevelled and shabby than usual. He tells us that his neighbour's 1993 Transit van erupted in a cacophony of sirens last night at 10.36 and, despite someone taking a spade to its bonnet at three in the morning, it only gave up at 7.46am with a pitiful diminished squeak when the battery finally imploded.

"It just went on and on and on. Nothing could blank out the noise," Billy told us and we could fully appreciate his pain, not least because this morning's wires bring yet another story of the pitifully repetitive Mike Ashley bleating on about Debenhams.

Our corpulent friend has asked for an independent investigation into the collapse of the former chain store (like the woman who just won't stop harping on about the time she was dumped on Christmas Eve fourteen years ago). "It's in the public interest," he explained. Well, we in the NTI newsroom have asked the public and they don't seem to give a toss.

Ashley has sent letters to the two chairs of separate House of Commons select committees particularly highlighting a £35 million dividend pay out the then-Debenhams board approved in July 2018, nine months before its first Administration. It is true that Ashley’s company once held shares in Debenhams worth up to £300 million, with a near-30 per cent stake in the business. It is also true that this was all wiped out after the retailer’s first Administration, it being reported at the time that the tubby Ashley tried to stage a boardroom coup as well as a failed takeover attempt, by blocking the door into the room (albeit by standing 20 feet away from it).

Chris Wootton is the chief financial officer at Ashley’s Frasers Group and he has taken up bugle and trumpet in support of his boss' claims. “For several years we have been trying to have this matter investigated by regulators and select committees but people have passed the buck; we cannot understand it.”

It's true; you would think that the fifteenth time you say something either the sayer or the hearer would give up, wouldn't you? Sometimes people just won't listen. Billy and Tracee's Mum told her daughter countless times that she would amount to nothing in her life, but Tracee refused to listen, preferring to prove her right in any number of different ways. The only ears around the Fraser Group appear to be deaf ones. This is just a man scorned pumping up the volume.

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