Mike Ashley tells court he's a "power drinker" in bid to discredit £14m claim

 
Helen Cahill
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Ashley said he is a "power drinker" (Source: Getty)

This morning Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley continued to tell a judge just how drunk he gets as he sought to fight off a £14m claim from investment banker Jeffrey Blue.

Speaking at the High Court, the retail tycoon said he was a "power drinker" and that he would normally consume three pints in the first half hour of a pub session.

"I am power drinker...I binge drink, I am trying to get drunk," he said.

Ashley was at pains to prove he was absolutely slaughtered at a pub meeting with Blue, in order to discredit the banker's assertion the pair had made an oral agreement in the Horse & Groom pub.

He said another banker at the pub "kept the pints coming like machine guns".

"In two hours, how many pints do you think I can put down?" Ashley asked Blue's lawyer.

Blue is arguing that during the session, Ashley made an agreement to pay the ex-Merrill Lynch banker £15m if he used his contacts and experience to get Sports Direct's share price to £8. Ashley only paid the banker £1m.

During questioning yesterday, Ashley dismissed the promise as "drink banter".

Seeking to play down his role as a decision-maker at Sports Direct, Ashley told Mr Justice Leggatt he was not “Obi-Wan Kenobi in charge of the Death Star”, seemingly mistaking the legendary Jedi Master for Darth Vader, Lord of the Sith.

Relationship with the City

The Sports Direct chief executive, who has often faced criticism from the City over governance issues, made it clear today he was not worried about his company's image within the Square Mile.

"Why would Sports Direct care about raising its image?" he said. "I don't particularly care."

Ashley was answering an assertion from Blue's lawyer, who said Sports Direct wanted to increase its City standing in 2013 after Merrill Lynch abruptly quit as the firm's broker.

Read more: Here's every surprising Sports Direct moment in the last 18 months

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