Would You Defraud a Dragon? Fraud Accusations Behind BBC Reality Show, “The Dragon’s Den”

There are more than enough mythical tales based around fighting dragons to make sure that if you ever came across a dragon in real life, you would be advised to stay out of their way. Having the ability to breathe fire and fly are pretty great skills to have in life, and they would be rather useful attributes in a fight. Thankfully, dragons as we understand them in mythology don’t exist but in recent times in the UK, there have been some pretty scary dragons frightening a lot of people.

The Dragons Den show on the BBC has been one of the most popular business-related TV shows with millions tuning in every episode to see if aspiring business owners can convince the Dragons to part with their cash, knowledge and time to get a business idea off the ground. All of the dragons have their own personality and preferences, but many find Duncan Bannatyne to be the spikiest Dragon of them all. You certainly wouldn’t want to mess with the self-made millionaire from Glasgow but it appears that his business empire has been battling some enemies of its own of late.

Duncan Bannatyne, a business man who frequently appeared on the BBC's show, The Dragon's Den

Duncan Bannatyne, the succesful buisness man who frequently appeared on the BBC’s show, The Dragon’s Den

The police force is currently investigation what is believed to be a multi-million pound fraud at Bannatyne’s business and the former Chief Executive of the company has been arrested. On Wednesday the 17th of December 2014, Graham Nigel Armstrong was arrested on the suspicion of committing fraud against the firm, and has been released on bail. Armstrong has been a Managing Director and Chief Executive of the Darlington based firm, a company he has worked for over the past 17 years. Armstrong was once considered to be a close personal friend of the TV star, with Bannatyne referring to Armstrong as “the most important person working for the company”, in his autobiography.

Earlier on this year, Armstrong was suspended from the company when an internal investigation was launched within the company. It is believed that he is no longer under employment with the firm although he is still listed as a company director. This arrest was the second arrest of this nature with Christopher Watson, a finance director at the company, was arrested on suspicion of fraud by abuse of position.

Many local media outlets in Darlington have contacted Mr Armstrong for a quote and to his credit; he hasn’t blanked them or declined to comment. However, as you would expect, he hasn’t actually said too much of note either. Basically Armstrong has reiterated that he is a shareholder and director for the company and he is assisting the police with inquiries relating to an investigation into the affairs of the firm. The police have also confirmed that they have made arrests relating to an investigation into a Darlington based firm allegedly suffering a multi-million pound fraud.

Even though Duncan Bannatyne is regarded as the business brains, an act that he has to keep up to maintain his image, he has in the past stated that Mr Armstrong is much better at running the business than he was, even stating that the company improved significantly under the leadership of Mr Armstrong.

At least in public there appeared to be a strong bond between the two, which means that if the allegations are true, you wonder what came between the two of them to cause such a fall-out. Whether it was greed or jealousy that caused the split, it indicates that businesses need to be aware that even their hardest working employees or most loyal figures may at times turn against their employer.

Whether an employee is facing fraud allegations or a firm is raising allegations against a current employee, there is clearly a need for strong and responsible legal representation. When there is an emotional and personal bond between people, it can be easy to get side-tracked on these elements as opposed to the actual importance of crime. Fraud of any crime is an extremely serious crime, and it is important that any defence is made to a high standard, and which addresses the crime itself. It is always a shame when friendships or working relationships go wrong, but when there has been fraud committed, the law needs to be followed through to its natural conclusion.

About the Author

Andrew Reilly is a freelance writer with a focus on news stories and consumer interest articles. He has been writing professionally for 8 years but has been writing for as long as he can care to remember. When Andrew isn’t sat behind a laptop or researching a story, he will be found watching a gig or a game of football.

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