Friday 9 October 2015 2:47 pm

Sports Direct chief executive Dave Forsey charged over USC administration on same day staff win legal battle over redundancy pay

A government agency has charged Sports Direct chief executive Dave Forsey over criminal offences regarding the company's handling of the administration of chain USC.

The UK Insolvency Service has started criminal proceedings against the retail boss for “an offence contrary to section 194 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992,” it told City A.M.

This requires an employer to give the business secretary advance noticed of redundancies of “specified numbers of employees” at companies “at which they will take place within given timeframes”.

The first hearing had been set for 15 August, but was adjourned until 14 October, when it is due to go in front of Chesterfield Magistrates Court.

“The investigation into the conduct of the directors is ongoing, “ the Insolvency Service said in a statement.

“The enquiries are at an early stage and given the criminal proceedings it is not possible nor would it be appropriate to comment any further.”

It is thought the matter relates to Sports Direct's placing of USC into administration in January this year.

The retail giant, which is still majority owned by founder Mike Ashley, reportedly gave staff just 15 minutes' notice before they were made redundant. Just days after the administration was announced, USC was bought out by Sports Direct-owned chain Republic.

In February it was reported that then-business secretary Vince Cable had not been given notice of the redundancies, and that Sports Direct could face a legal challenge as a result.

Today 50 staff won a legal battle against Sports Direct which is expected to result in them receiving their standard 90-day notice pay.

Administrators Duff & Phelps will now have to set money aside for the former employees, which is expected to cover a standard 90-day notice period.