Sports Direct has said it will no longer draw on a loan facility provided to it by Ashley, its founder.
In an unusual statement this morning, the company said although it expects its borrowing requirements to be "consistently in excess" of the £263m it has drawn on under its more conventional loan arrangements with banks, it has decided it will avoid drawing on a different, lower interest loan facility with Ashley.
"The group... has been subject to unjustified criticism over related party transactions, including incorrect press coverage of the benefits of the [arrangement with Mike Ashley/Mash Holdings]," it complained.
"It has been decided that it is in the best interests of the group and its shareholders to avoid further criticism at this time," it added.
Sports Direct has come under heavy criticism in recent months.
Earlier this month Ashley agreed to meet MPs in order to "set the record straight" over working practices at its Shirebrook headquarters in Derbyshire.
In January, it issued a profit warning, claiming warm weather had put off shoppers over the Christmas period.