Michelle Mone confirms assets frozen by Crown Prosecution Service

Politics

Baroness Michelle Mone and her husband have had some of their assets frozen by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), the couple have confirmed.

A spokesman for the pair said the move was part of a “consensual process” which would allow them to “prove their innocence more quickly” amid an investigation into government contracts for personal protective equipment (PPE) during the pandemic.

Baroness Mone last month admitted she lied when she denied having links to the firm PPE Medpro – a consortium led by her husband Doug Barrowman – which was awarded contracts worth more than £200m.

She has also admitted her family stands to benefit from the £60m in profits made by the company.

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Baroness Mone, who was elevated to the House of Lords in 2015, was a Conservative peer until she had the whip removed amid the controversy.

The admission comes after the Financial Times (FT) reported that £75m worth of assets belonging to the couple had been frozen.

The newspaper said the order covered assets including a six-bedroom London townhouse, a country estate on the Isle of Man and 15 bank accounts. The restrictions include a ban on the couple selling some of their property.

On Friday, Baroness Mone reposted the FT’s article on social media alongside a statement from the couple’s spokesman.

It said: “This comes as a result of a consensual process during which negotiations took place with the CPS.

“It allows the wider businesses and assets of the Barrowman family to operate normally and free from any restrictions or uncertainties.

“Doug and Michelle did not contest the application and were happy to offer up these assets, which means they can begin the task of proving their innocence more quickly.

“Mr Barrowman finds it deplorable that private matters such as this are being conducted in the public realm via leaks from government departments and the CPS.”

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Mone admits ‘error’ by denying link to PPE firm

Baroness Mone made her fortune in the lingerie industry, before becoming a peer.

PPE Medpro was awarded contracts to supply PPE in 2020, the first year of the COVID outbreak. An investigation into the deal has since been launched by the National Crime Agency – sometimes known as the UK’s FBI.

During the pandemic a so-called “VIP lane”, allowing politicians and officials to send private offers of PPE to the government, was established. But Baroness Mone said the first she knew of such access was when she read about it.

In November 2020, lawyers for the businesswoman said she was “not connected in any way with PPE Medpro”, The Guardian reported. But she admitted last year she did have links to the firm and “regretted” her initial statement.

Read more: Who is Michelle Mone and what is the PPE controversy?

She said: “The government knew I was involved and the emergency team, the cabinet team, knew I was involved – the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), knew I was involved, the NHS – all of them.

“The legal team advised myself and my husband not to comment and not to say of my involvement in PPE Medpro.”

Baroness Mone said she put the name of the company forward and it “got the contracts on its own merits”, denying it received preferential treatment.

According to the UK parliament website, PPE Medpro was set up on 12 May 2020 and “awarded its first contract, worth £81m, on 12 June to supply 210 million face masks”.

Baroness Mone has alleged Mr Sunak was aware of her involvement.

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The DHSC awarded a second contract on 26 June, worth £122m, to supply sterile surgical gowns.

The department has since issued breach of contract proceedings over the 2020 deal for the supply of gowns.

The Crown Prosecution Service has been approached for comment.

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