Thursday 30 January 2020 11:58 am

Mike Ashley's Sports Direct resolves chunk of €674m Belgian tax bill

Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct has resolved a large chunk of a €674m (£570.2m) tax dispute with the Belgian authorities.

The retailer – which recently rebranded as Frasers Group – said €491m of the disputed VAT had been accounted for and authorities in Belgium had withdrawn the claim. 

Ashley’s company said it would “continue to fully engage and work” with the Belgian investigation related to the rest of the VAT. 

The shock tax bill first came to light in Sports Direct’s delayed full-year results in July, and prompted the resignation of the company’s auditor Grant Thornton. 

In a statement this morning Frasers Group finance chief Chris Wootton said: “For the past six months we have been working closely with the Belgian tax authorities and our own advisors to resolve the Belgian tax payment notice. 

“This was a huge undertaking for all parties involved. Our view at the time was that this VAT bill was without merit so I am delighted we have so far been vindicated in that view with the extinguishment of the main part of the proces-verbal.

“We will continue to put significant efforts into resolving the remaining matters.”

Yesterday the Financial Times reported that Sports Direct is battling to keep private documents it handed to its accountants from being passed to the accounting regulator. 

Sports Direct reportedly said it had a right to keep legal documents it gave to Grant Thornton and Deloitte private, as it sought to appeal a High Court ruling forcing it to give 40 documents to the Financial Reporting Council. 

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