Asda boss faces jail over £180,000 ‘flood victims’ fraud

Former Asda boss Paul Kelly (right) with Nick Clegg at a Tour de France event in 2014
Former Asda boss Paul Kelly (right) with Nick Clegg at a Tour de France event in 2014
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An executive at supermarket giant Asda is facing jail after he defrauded the its charity fund of £180,000 by claiming money was to be used to assist flood victims.

Paul Kelly, a vice-president of corporate affairs at the Leeds-based firm, instead diverted the funds to a ballet company run by his partner.

Kelly, 55, a respected Government adviser until the offending came to light, had been the chairman of Asda’s charitable foundation.

The disgraced executive could be jailed after pleading guilty to seven charges of fraud when he appeared before Leeds Crown Court.

Instead of helping communities hit by flooding, the funds were diverted to the ballet company run by his partner, dancer David Murley

Three charges relate to Kelly “dishonestly and intending to make a gain for himself or another” by making a false representation to the Asda Foundation by “purporting that monies were to be used for assisting flood victims, whereas the monies were to be paid to Murley Dance Company.”

Four charges relate to Kelly making a false representation to the Asda Foundation that the Murley Dance Company was a charitable organisation whose objectives came within the scope of the Asda Foundation Trust. The offending took place between July 2013 and May 2014.

The case was adjourned for a pre-sentence report and a psychiatric report. Kelly will be sentenced on February 16.

Kelly was dismissed as vice-president of corporate affairs at the retailer in September 2014 following an investigation.

Asda confirmed that Mr Kelly ‘left’ the company just days before he had been due to sit on a panel at Labour’s party conference with then Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper.

He has also rubbed shoulders with former Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, and had recently been made an ambassador for Prince Charles’s Business in the Community charity.

Mr Clegg was pictured with Kelly when Asda was made an official partner for the 2014 Tour de France’s Grand Depart in Yorkshire.

Kelly has previously been an adviser to the Government on food policy, alcohol and obesity. Mr Murley, 36, has performed with Madonna, the Royal Opera and English National Opera.

A spokesman for the supermarket said at the time of Kelly’s dismissal: “Asda expects the highest standards of integrity from its colleagues. Although we’re incredibly disappointed by these allegations, we are pleased that our internal controls worked.”

Kelly had worked at Asda for seven years. Prior to joining the supermarket he was group corporate affairs director at catering firm Compass Group.