Former directors of collapsed electricals chain Comet, including WHSmith’s upcoming chief executive Carl Cowling, face legal action from liquidators.

Insolvency firm FRP Advisory has filed notice of possible court proceedings against several former directors of the failed electricals chain, according to The Times.

Comet’s former chief operating officer and incoming WHSmith boss Carl Cowling is facing possible legal action, as is former chief executive Bob Darke and former Dixons boss John Clare, who helped private equity firm OpCapita buy Comet from French retailer Kesa in 2011.

Hailey Acquisitions, which was set up by OpCapita founder Henry Jackson for the Comet deal, is also facing possible legal action.

Comet collapsed in November 2012, a year after it was acquired by OpCapita and American hedge fund Elliott. It emerged after Comet’s downfall that OpCapita and Elliott had recouped £70m from the retailer’s demise, alongside a £50m payment from Kesa upon acquisition.

A source told The Sunday Times that the possible legal action related to the directors’ decision to accept secured financing from OpCapita, which bumped the private equity firm ahead of other creditors for repayment.