Former Peacocks boss Richard Kirk is being sued by his ex-wife for £3m after she accused him of persuading her to take part in a fraudulent ‘Ponzi’ scheme.

According to the Daily Mail, the scheme involved AIDS drugs for Africa but Barbara Kirk is claiming that money later put in by investors was allegedly used to pay earlier investors.

She is also accusing Kirk of taking secret payouts from her involvement in the scheme without telling her he was entitled to commission, and she is also claiming he persuaded her daughter to put money in.

Mrs Kirk has filed a writ in the High Court in London.  

In total Barbara Kirk paid £6.2m into the scheme. She received payments of £3.2m but the scheme collapsed in June 2009, leaving her £3m out of pocket.

She is suing Kirk for the repayment of the £3m, plus damages for alleged deceit and negligence as well as the commission he allegedly gained from bringing her into the scheme.

Kirk is due to file his defence in the High Court on Friday. It is understood he has told friends that his ex-wife invested entirely of her own accord, that he didn’t give her any investment advice and that he received no commission from her involvement.

Kirk had told his ex-wife that a South African drug company Frankel Chemical Corporation was producing and selling a low cost AIDS drug in Africa, using cheap pharmaceutical ingredients from India.

Frankel needed investment for its business which aimed to make large profits by undercutting the price of equivalent drugs whose patents had expired.

The writ said: “During 2008 and 2009, he was in fact engaged – seemingly as a remunerative sideline from his day to day employment with Peacock Group plc – in systematically soliciting private individuals to invest in the Frankel scheme.”