Mike Ashley, the majority shareholder of beleaguered Sports Direct, was spotted by journalists removing a large amount of cash from his pocket during a tour of the company's warehouse on Wednesday.
He emptied the £50 notes on to a table during a search as he entered the building. When questioned by the melee of journalists about the cash, he said: "Yes, I've just been to the casino... No, don't please write that."
Mike Ashley gets searched... Yes. That is a massive wad of £50 notes he just took out his pocket pic.twitter.com/zV78Qdfmec
-- Simon Neville (@SimonNeville) September 7, 2016
Attention has been drawn to the incident on social media, as it appears to juxtapose with low levels of pay for which his company has been criticised.
Mike Ashley's really not helping himself is he? #SportsDirectAGM guy just doesnt get it....
-- Allan Snedden (@allansnedden) September 7, 2016
To recap, Mike Ashley's PR drive involved visiting the warehouse where staff were paid below min wage and producing a huge wad of £50 notes
-- Marcus Leroux (@marcusleroux) September 7, 2016
-- Kenneth Green (@Kennethg40) September 7, 2016
Others, though, have come to the billionaire's defence.
Actually I think "Mike Ashley" is alright. He's created 1000s of jobs, revolutionised sports retail and paid millions and millions in tax
-- Robbespierre (@Robbo1992x) September 7, 2016
Mike Ashley carries a wad of notes around with him? So what, I earn 0.001 % of what he does yet you want to see what I take out on match day
-- Peter Brogdale (@BroggersM19) September 7, 2016