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Sports Direct hits back at Belgian tax bill ‘speculation’

Sports Direct has hit back at rumours that its audit partner Grant Thornton has quit over the group’s €674m (£605m) tax bill from Belgian authorities.

In a statement designed to “correct the press speculation”, the Mike Ashley-owned group said it received the payment notice at 12pm on 25 July.

The group provides full detail on the sequence of events, including notifying its lawyers RPC and Grant Thornton.

The statement claims: “It was necessary for Grant Thornton to satisfy themselves of Sports Direct’s management’s assessment of this matter before the audit could be completed”, which resulted in the company delaying its full-year financials on Friday.

It adds: “Sports Direct would like to make it clear that the notice and subsequent ‘proces verbal’ including the quantum were not expected.”

The group also believes the likelihood of it paying the total £605m is “not probable”.

Sports Direct Group published its delayed annual results yesterday.

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