Bargain World 3

Scotland’s insolvency service is investigating whether a businessman linked to defunct chain Bargain World breached the terms of an undischarged bankruptcy.

Calum Melville is a former oil and gas tycoon, and Dundee FC boss, who was 436rd on The Sunday Times rich list in 2009. But in 2016 the Aberdeen Sheriff Court granted a sequestration order against Melville over reported unpaid debts of around £50,000.

His involvement in Bargain World emerged earlier this year after he appealed for store staff, suppliers and even a 25,000 sq ft distribution centre for the business in a number of posts on LinkedIn over the course of three months.

The new variety discounter chain’s ambition was to have 25 stores by the end of the year, but only two opened, in Warrington, Cheshire. Both closed last week after just five months.

Now KPMG, the administrator acting for Scotland’s Accountant in Bankruptcy, is seeking evidence as to whether Melville acted illegally.

KPMG has written to Melville’s associates asking for evidence he had either obtained credit without disclosing his undischarged bankruptcy or acted as a director or shadow director of a limited company. The letter points out any of the acts would be an offence.

Neither Melville nor former Bargain World MD Iain Harben responded to The Grocer’s enquiries this week. A spokesman for the Accountant in Bankruptcy said it could not comment.

Bargain World has two directors named at Companies House: Harben and Melville’s wife, Susan Melville.

In June this year, Harben told The Grocer he reported to Melville’s mother Dorothy Melville.

“Calum as son takes an interest but that’s as far as his involvement in the business goes,” Harben said at the time.

Bargain World staff were told by Harben this week that the company was not in a position to pay them and they should consider themselves redundant as of 30 September.