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Michelle Mone and husband have £75m in assets frozen amid probe into PPE fraud allegations
26 January 2024, 11:51
Michelle Mone and her husband have had £75m in assets frozen by prosecutors amid an ongoing probe into allegations of fraud.
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The pair’s assets have been frozen or resrtained by a court order as they face an investigation by the National Crime Agency (NCA) into alleged PPE fraud.
Among the frozen assets are a six-bedroom central London townhouse, a country estate on the Isle of Man, and 15 accounts with Coutts, C Hoare & Co. and Goldman Sachs International, the Financial Times reported.
Lingerie tycoon Mone, 52, revealed late last year her bank accounts had been frozen following a two-year investigation by the National Crime Agency into allegations of fraud and bribery.
The allegations surround PPE Medpro - a company that the couple is close to - which was awarded more than £200m to supply the government with protective medical equipment amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Medpro is accused of delivering faulty PPE to the government during the pandemic after it was awarded an £81 million contract in June and later a £121 million contract for surgical gowns.
Mone and Barrowman have both denied the allegations against them and say the gowns were supplied in accordance with the contract.
The court order, which was issued in December, restricts Mone and her husband Douglas Barrowman from selling some of the assets and places restrictions on others.
A spokesman for the pair said of the order: “It allows the wider businesses and assets of the Barrowman family to operate normally and free from any restrictions or uncertainties.
“Doug and Michelle did not contest the application and were happy to offer up these assets, which means they can begin the task of proving their innocence more quickly.”
The UK government sued PPE Medpro for £122m plus costs for “breach of contract and unjust enrichment”.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) applied for the court order on behalf of the NCA, which has been investigating the firm since May 2021.
It comes after Mone admitted last month that she had lied to the media when she denied having links to the firm.
The money went to financial trusts belonging to her husband Doug Barrowman, and she admitted she was a beneficiary of it. About £60m of profit went to the trusts.
And after admitting she had made an "error" in publicly denying a connection, she said lying to the press was "not a crime".
"I did make an error in saying to the press that I wasn't involved," she said.
Mone recommended PPE Medpro to the government’s fast-track procurement scheme during the early days of the pandemic, which led to its millions of pounds in profit.
Mone’s 6,000 sq ft home in central London, which features a sauna and steam room, is among the frozen assets, which she is trying to sell. The CPS has said it can be sold if they are notified in advance.
Nine other properties she owns in Glasgow, however, are not permitted to be sold. Although the order says any rental income from the properties is not restrained.