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Michelle Mone accused of ‘Grand National disgrace’ as horse runs at Aintree

Property and bank accounts linked to Baroness Mone and her husband Doug Barrowman, totalling about £75 million, were frozen as part of the NCA investigation
Property and bank accounts linked to Baroness Mone and her husband Doug Barrowman, totalling about £75 million, were frozen as part of the NCA investigation - Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images Europe

Michelle Mone has been accused of a “Grand National disgrace” as she has a horse running at Aintree while being investigated for fraud.

Monbeg Genius is owned by the Conservative peer, who is the subject of an investigation by the National Crime Agency (NCA) as its inquiry continues into the PPE firm Medpro.

Pat McFadden, Labour’s national campaign co-ordinator, said it was a “disgrace” that Monbeg Genius was competing.

He told the Commons: “Baroness Mone and her husband [Doug Barrowman] made a £60 million profit on a £200 million contract for PPE, much of which the NHS deemed unusable.

“The couple have had a reported £75 million of assets frozen but they also have a horse running in Britain’s favourite horse race, the Grand National.

“Now that’s not racing’s fault, but wouldn’t it be a Grand National disgrace if the owners were able to walk away with winnings while taxpayers are still waiting to get their money back from being sold a mountain of unusable PPE?”

Monbeg Genius will be allowed to run in April, as the gelding is not affected by the restraint order placed on the couple's assets
Monbeg Genius will be allowed to run in April, as the gelding is not affected by the restraint order placed on the couple's assets - Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images Europe

Oliver Dowden, the Deputy Prime Minister, said that the Government continued to take “robust action to recover any misused funds”.

He added: “There are both criminal and civil proceedings ongoing so there’s limited things that I can say in respect of the allegations he’s made.

“As the secretary of state in the Cabinet Office and Deputy Prime Minister, my remit runs to many areas, unfortunately it does not extend to the outcome of the Grand National.”

The British Horseracing Authority confirmed earlier this month the gelding would be allowed to run in April, as the horse will not be affected by the restraint order placed on the assets of the baroness and her husband.

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More Scotland stories - click above

‘Treated like Pablo Escobar’

Medpro, which is owned by a consortium led by Mr Barrowman, was awarded contracts worth £200 million after its sales bid was fast-tracked through a so-called VIP lane during the Covid pandemic.

The Government later sued the company, claiming PPE worth £122 million was defective.

The firm insists that everything it supplied met the specifications in the contracts issued by the Government. Both the civil and the criminal cases are ongoing.

Last December, Lady Mone said she was being “treated like Pablo Escobar”, the late Colombian drug lord, after her accounts were frozen.

Friends of the couple have said they are being used as scapegoats by the Government to divert attention away from its own failure to run the PPE procurement process properly.

The Covid Inquiry will investigate the controversial Government “VIP lane” used by Michelle Mone, among others.