The high court judge presiding over Sports Direct’s legal battle with Rangers football club has accused the sportswear retailer of “abusing” the system.
Justice Peter Smith criticised Sports Direct’s approach after it withdrew its claim for damages in the case, The Guardian reports.
The case centres around Sports Direct’s claim that Rangers chairman Dave King breached a confidentiality agreement between the two companies during an interview to Sky Sports in July 2015.
Sports Direct founder and majority shareholder Mike Ashley claimed in his witness statement that the damage of the alleged breach and others ran into “millions of pounds”.
The retailer then claimed £200,000 in damages, a level that ensured the case would be heard in the high court, before reducing the claim to £50,000 and then withdrawing it on Monday.
Sports Direct is now asking for injunctions on the disclosure of its commercial deals with Rangers. A £5m loan from Sports Direct to Rangers was repaid in full in December 2015.
Smith said: “The whole way that the claimants have been conducting themselves [in relation to the damages] … shows that they have been abusing processes of the court.”
Sports Direct’s claim that King breached the confidentiality agreement will be heard in February.
Meanwhile Ashley has promised to invite MPs to visit Sports Direct’s warehouse in Shirebrook, Derbyshire, which has come under the spotlight following accusations of poor working conditions.