Mike Ashley to give evidence to High Court in £14m 'drunk banter' lawsuit

Updated: 

Newcastle United owner and Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley is preparing to give evidence at a High Court trial after being sued by a finance expert who says he reneged on a £15 million deal.

Investment banker Jeffrey Blue says Mr Ashley promised to pay him £15 million if he used his expertise to increase Sports Direct's share price to £8 a share.

He says Mr Ashley paid only £1 million - and he wants £14 million damages.

Mr Ashley denies the claim and says Mr Blue is "trying to take me for £14 million off the back of some drunk banter".

He is scheduled to start putting his side of the story on Wednesday.

A judge began analysing evidence at a hearing in London on Monday.

Mr Justice Leggatt heard the dispute between Mr Blue and Mr Ashley relates to a conversation in a central London pub in 2013.

Mr Blue says Mr Ashley made a promise during a meeting in the Horse and Groom four years ago.

The investment banker told the judge Mr Ashley is a "serious businessman".

He said the work ethic at Sports Direct was "like nothing else I have ever seen".

But he said Mr Ashley sometimes did business "in unorthodox ways and in unusual venues".

Mr Blue has told how Mr Ashley vomited into a fireplace after a Sports Direct senior management meeting which was "effectively a pub lock-in".

He said Mr Ashley would nap under tables at "boring" meetings.

Mr Ashley has told the judge, in a written statement: ''I can't believe that (Mr Blue) is now trying to take me for £14 million off the back of some drunk banter that he is seeking to engineer into something more.''