Michelle Mone: Crime agency ‘looking into £3m sent to peer’s bank account’

Investigators are said to be examining a sum of money that was moved into the entrepreneur’s Coutts account

Adam Forrest
Political Correspondent
Sunday 31 December 2023 16:12
Baroness Michelle Mone admits she could benefit from £60m PPE contract

The National Crime Agency (NCA) is reported to be examining a £3m payment made to Michelle Mone’s bank account, as part of its inquiry into the scandal surrounding PPE contracts.

It follows the peer’s admission that she lied by denying links to PPE Medpro – a consortium led by her husband Doug Barrowman that made millions from deals awarded by the Conservative government to supply personal protective equipment during the Covid crisis.

The firm is being investigated by the NCA for suspected offences relating to contracts worth over £200m for the provision of large quantities of gowns and face masks.

As part of its investigation, the agency is scrutinising a £3m payment made into Baroness Mone’s Coutts bank account, according to The Sunday Times.

The newspaper reported that the transaction is of interest because it arrived after £65m in PPE Medpro profits were transferred to trusts and accounts linked to Mr Barrowman.

Baroness Mone has publicly claimed that she is only an indirect beneficiary of the profits made by PPE Medpro during the pandemic.

The bra tycoon recently told a YouTube documentary: “I am his wife and I may indirectly benefit, but that’s just like all other families around that are married. That’s just it, that is not my money; I don’t have that money, it’s not my money.”

In a recent interview with the BBC, Mone said PPE Medpro’s profits belong to her husband, Doug Barrowman

The peer made similar comments in a BBC interview with Laura Kuenssberg. “It’s my husband’s money. It’s his money. It’s not my money and it’s not my children’s,” she said.

Baroness Mone told the host: “I’m saying to you that I didn’t receive that cash. That cash is not my cash, that cash is my husband’s cash. We are married. If, one day, God forbid, my husband passes away before me, then I am a beneficiary, as well as his children and my children, so yes, of course.”

Aside from the NCA inquiry, the government issued breach of contract proceedings against PPE Medpro in December 2022 over the 2020 deal for sterile gowns. The company is defending the legal action.

Baroness Mone has hit back at the Tory government in the ongoing row – insisting that ministers knew about her involvement in the lucrative Covid contracts from the beginning.

The Tory peer’s BBC interview reignited the row over PPE procurement

“I was honest with the Cabinet Office, the government and the NHS in my dealings with them. They all knew about my involvement from the very beginning,” she tweeted on X, formerly Twitter, earlier this month.

The lingerie entrepreneur has sought to criticise Michael Gove and other Tory ministers during the row, saying she contacted Mr Gove in his role as Cabinet Office minister at the start of the pandemic with an offer to help.

The peer also accused Mr Gove and top Department of Health official Sir Chris Wormald of overseeing “huge waste in PPE contracts”. She said they both “need to be held to account”.

However, former Tory health minister Lord Bethell said Baroness Mone “wasn’t ‘honest’ about her financial interest to me”. Mr Gove told reporters he has been cooperating with the NCA investigation.

Baroness Michelle Mone apologises for not admitting involvement in PPE contracts

Baroness Mone was made a Conservative peer under former prime minister David Cameron, but the Tory party has said she is no longer a member and does not hold the whip in the House of Lords.

The entrepreneur, who took a leave of absence from parliament last year, is facing calls to be barred from the Lords. And Rishi Sunak has said that the government is taking the case against PPE Medpro “incredibly seriously”.

Baroness Mone has been approached for comment in relation to the report in The Sunday Times. The NCA declined to comment when asked about the claim that it is looking into a £3m payment.

A spokesperson for the agency has previously said: “The NCA can confirm its International Corruption Unit opened an investigation in May 2021 into suspected criminal offences committed in the procurement of PPE contracts by PPE Medpro.”

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