Finance expert who claims Mike Ashley promised him £15million 'told me a different story' says ex-police chief

Former police chief Keith Hellawell has given evidence at the High Court damages trial involving Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley.
Former police chief Keith Hellawell has given evidence at the High Court damages trial involving Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley.

A finance expert who claims Newcastle United owner and Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley promised him £15million told the firm's chairman a different story, a High Court judge has heard.

Investment banker Jeffrey Blue says Mr Ashley promised to pay him £15million if he used his expertise to increase Sports Direct's share price to £8 a share during a night of heavy drinking at a London pub four years ago.

Newcastle United owner and Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley arrives at the High Court in London where he is being sued by finance expert Jeffrey Blue. Pic: PA.

Newcastle United owner and Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley arrives at the High Court in London where he is being sued by finance expert Jeffrey Blue. Pic: PA.

He says Mr Ashley paid only £1million and is claiming £14million damages at a hearing at the High Court in London.

Mr Ashley denies the claim and says Mr Blue is talking ''nonsense''.

Sports Direct chairman Keith Hellawell told Mr Justice Leggatt today how Mr Blue had said he was being paid £1million.

Mr Hellawell, who was chief constable of the Cleveland and West Yorkshire police forces before embarking on a business career, said he had a conversation with Mr Blue three years ago.

Finance expert Jeffrey Blue arrives at the High Court in London, where he faces a dispute with Newcastle United owner and sportswear firm boss Mike Ashley. Pic: PA.

Finance expert Jeffrey Blue arrives at the High Court in London, where he faces a dispute with Newcastle United owner and sportswear firm boss Mike Ashley. Pic: PA.

"He had told me £1 million," said Mr Hellawell. "I was shocked when I saw the figure of £15million. Jeff had told me £1 million. I was very clear on what he said in that conversation."

Mr Ashley told the judge last week that he made no £15million share price increase agreement with Mr Blue.

He said he had paid Mr Blue £1million for ''other deals''.

Mr Justice Leggatt started overseeing the trial last week and finished hearing from witnesses today.

Lawyers are due to outline closing legal arguments on Wednesday, and the judge is expected to deliver a ruling later in the year.