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Sport Direct accuses Debenhams management of 'falsehoods and denials'

Debenhams looks likely to be heading for administration and be taken over by its creditors after Sports Direct accused its directors of deceit and lying.

Sports Direct has offered to underwrite a £150m fundraising if Mike Ashley was appointed chief executive.

Debenhams said it had four conditions before it would recommend to its creditors that they extend the deadline for a deal beyond the end of Monday: withdrawing the call for a shareholder meeting meant to remove most of the board; guarantee the £150m if Ashley became chief executive; agree to a press release between the three parties and stop making public statements that could harm the chain.

But rather than agree, Sports Direct has intensified its war of words with the department store chain.

‘“For the avoidance of doubt, it is Sports Direct’s contention that the board of Debenhams and its advisors have undertaken a sustained programme of falsehoods and denials. The fact that they can so openly lie in their recollection of joint meetings with Sports Direct is beyond the pale,’ Sport Direct said.

It said Ashley and other Sport Direct executives had taken lie detector tests to ‘prove they were telling the truth’ but did not expect Debenhams management to do the same ‘for fear of exposure.’

Sports Direct would become the majority shareholder if other investors do not participate in his proposed rescue rights issue. However it and other shareholders will see there stakes wiped out of the creditors opt of a pre-pack administration.