An Indian entrepreneur, who is wanted by Interpol, is targeting a takeover of Coast, Oasis and Warehouse.
Ajay Khaitan’s private-equity firm Emerisque Brands is in exclusive talks to buy the trio from Icelandic bank Kaupthing for £60m, The Times reported.
Interpol has a Red Notice on Khaitan, who has previously been involved in deals to salvage brands such as Lee Cooper, because of allegations that he was involved in “submitting fake and fabricated documents” in a decades-old dispute over invoicing.
But a spokesman for Khaitan told The Telegraph that the businessman had paid back the £7,000 claim with interest and that the warrant was issued because Khaitan, who emigrated to the UK 20 years ago, had not attended the numerous hearings the case generated in India.
He added: “No charges have ever been brought against Ajay and, in 2015, a British court discharged him on the basis that there was no prima facie case against him.
“Ajay’s track record speaks for itself and this minor legal case is not relevant to that history.”
The trio of retailers are facing a tough fashion market, with two of the three paying rent and business rates on flagship stores in central London.
In their last full-year, Coast posted £1.3m in pre-tax profits, up from a £10.8m loss, while Oasis reported flat profits at £6.3m and Warehouse posted a £1.3m loss.
Kaupthing declined to comment.
This story was amended on August 23, 2019, to reflect the fact that Ajay Khaitan is no longer subject to an Interpol Red Notice or diffusion.