Topshop billionaire Sir Philip Green paid a female employee £1m to keep quiet after she accused him of kissing and groping her, according to a report in the Daily Telegraph.
The paper alleges that Sir Philip called the senior female member of staff a “naughty girl” and made comments about her weight.
It reported that she was one of five employees that signed non-disclosure agreements after being bullied or harassed.
Another allegation in the report said that a £1m payment had also been made to a black male executive after Sir Philip said he was “throwing spears in the jungle”.
Sir Philip denies all wrongdoing and lawyers representing him told the Telegraph he was a "passionate businessman, who can at times be over-exuberant and hot-headed" and could be "perceived at times as aggressive with senior and trusted staff".
"It is further denied that any of Sir Philip's conduct towards employees amounted to any type of crime, or anything that would amount to gross misconduct, or a serious risk to health and safety,” they added.
The Arcadia owner had used an injunction against the newspaper for the past six months to prevent them from publishing the allegations, but on Friday his request for it to be dropped was accepted.
Sir Philip labelled the injunction “pointless” after he had been named as the businessman behind it by Lord Hain, who used the protection of Parliamentary privilege in the House of Lords.
He will now face a legal bill of around £3m according to reports, including the bulk of the Telegraph’s costs.
Five employees sign NDAs in exchange for money
The Telegraph reported that all five employees signed NDA’s in exchange for money but include testimony from witnesses who claim to have seen the events.
He is alleged to have given two separate female members of staff hundreds of thousands of pounds each too.
The allegations involve him sexually harassing and grabbing one woman’s face, while the other claimed Sir Philip put her in a headlock and groped her waist.
The report also claimed another male was left without one month’s pay shortly after Sir Philip smashed his phone.
Sir Philip warns against breaking NDAs
In a statement from Sir Philip and Arcadia following the court’s decision to drop the injunction, those who signed NDAs were urged to abide by them.
“The ruling recognised that the signatories to the non-disclosure agreements have ongoing obligations to honour those agreements, which they entered into willingly after receiving full independent legal advice about their rights and responsibilities,” it read.
The statement said that Lord Peter Hain was under investigation by the House of Lords Commissioner Standards for revealing Sir Philip's identity in parliament.
It also claimed that the Telegraph had "knowingly and shamefully coaxed these [five] individuals to breach their obligations under these lawful agreements".
The Telegraph’s editor, Chris Evans, responded by raising wider questions about the purpose of NDAs.
"In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein affair, we became aware that gagging orders called NDAs were being used to cover up allegations of sexual misconduct and racial abuse in the workplace. And that led to our investigation into Sir Philip Green and Arcadia.
"We maintain there is a clear public interest in telling people whether a prospective employer has been accused of sexual misconduct and racial abuse."