Bra tycoon targeted
Police raid Mone’s home over £200m PPE deal
National Crime Agency officers have raided the home of Baroness Mone, the former lingerie tycoon, as part of an investigation into PPE contracts worth more than £200 million.
Homes and offices in London and the Isle of Man were visited by officers understood to be looking for documents in relation to suspected fraud offences.
The agency is investigating a company called PPE Medpro, which won two contracts from the Department of Health and Social Care in 2020 to supply surgical gowns and masks to the NHS. The contracts were worth £80 million and £122m respectively and were awarded two weeks apart without competitive tender.
The company was due to supply 25 million sterile gowns and masks but its hospital gowns were never used because they did not receive regulatory approval.
Attention was focused on Lady Mone, who founded the Ultimo lingerie range, after it emerged that the government had awarded the contracts to the business which had been placed in a “high-priority lane”, a fast-track process for referred companies. It is said to have given companies a greater chance of being awarded a PPE deal.
It was reported that Lady Mone made the referrals to Lord Agnew, a fellow Tory peer who was a Cabinet Office minister responsible for procurement.
She denies this and said that she “never had any role or function in PPE Medpro”.
However, in a leaked email seen by the Financial Times, an NHS official wrote in February last year that “Baroness Mone is going to Michael Gove and Matt Hancock today as she is incandescent with rage on the way she believes Medpro have been treated.”
PPE Medpro was set up on the Isle of Man in May 2020 and one of its directors, Anthony Page, is also a director of the Knox House Trust, part of the Knox group, a group of companies founded by Mone’s Glasgow-born husband, the businessman Douglas Barrowman.
Mr Page had been the registered secretary for MGM Media, a company that manages Mone’s personal brand, according to the House of Lords register of financial interests until he left that role on the day PPE Medpro was set up.
In January the House of Lords commissioner began an inquiry into whether Mone may have breached the Lords’ code of conduct by failing to declare an interest in the company and by lobbying for it to be awarded government contracts.
Lady Mone, made a peer by David Cameron in 2015, has a £25million estate on the Isle of Man, as well as having a Belgravia home.
In January it emerged she had been referred to the House of Lords Commissioners for Standards.
Labour peer George Foulkes accused her of failing to fully disclose her alleged interests in PPE Medpro and asked if she breached lobbying rules. Lady Mone has rejected the allegations.