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Frasers Group facing possible investigation amid claims of furlough abuse

Published
Jun 26, 2020
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Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group is reportedly facing an HMRC investigation over allegations that it abused the government’s furlough scheme during the Covid-19 lockdown.


Sports Direct


HMRC is considering an investigation after receiving a number of complaints from Frasers Group staff who claimed they were asked to work while on furlough.

An HMRC source told the 'i' newspaper that Mike Ashley’s retail empire, which includes House of Fraser, Sports Direct and Flannels, was one of the names at the top of a “hit list”.

Other retail businesses including Philip Green’s Arcadia, which owns Topshop, could also face an investigation by tax officials.

The HMRC source said: “We’re already looking into whether we can claw back some Covid cash from them. If there’s any way we can, we will. So far it’s looking like there is a case for both to answer.”

A number of Sports Direct employees accused the firm of bringing them back into work in May to help prepare stores for reopening.

Designed to prevent mass redundancies during the coronavirus crisis, the government’s furlough scheme paid up to 80% of eligible employees’ monthly wages during the months of March and June.

But the rules were clear that furloughed staff must not do any work for their employer.

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