Insiders point to dominant role of Mike Ashley after Sports Direct revelations

Disclosures fuel concerns about how Ashley runs firm, as insiders claim he rarely listens to anyone outside tight-knit group

The dominant role of Mike Ashley in the management of Sports Direct has been underlined again, after the Guardian revealed that many of the retailer’s temporary warehouse staff receive effective hourly rates of pay below the minimum wage.

The store chain, founded and still 55%-owned by the billionaire, was shown on Wednesday to be conducting compulsory searches of workers at the end of shifts, time which they are not paid for. It was also revealed that the group makes harsh deductions from pay packets for slight lateness .

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