A SENIOR employee of Scottish businesswoman Michelle Mone walked out of his job after discovering his office had been bugged, an employment tribunal heard yesterday.
Scott Kilday, 35, told how he was left “horrified” when he found a listening device hidden in artificial flowers in his office.
He found it soon after he was asked to resign from his post as a director at Ms Mone’s MJM International company based in East Kilbride, South Lanarkshire.
Mr Kilday was later allegedly told the bug had been planted for “business strategic reasons”.
He made the accusations on the first day of his employment tribunal in which he is claiming unfair dismissal against MJM.
The hearing in Glasgow was told how matters became “difficult” within the lingerie company after Miss Mone split from her husband and business partner Michael in December 2011.
Mr Kilday said: “It all became a bit disjointed and basically there came a time Michelle and Michael could not sit in the room together.
“With both being majority shareholders it was very difficult to get any decision made, which ultimately was the fall of the business.”
Mr Mone eventually left MJM days before another company – MAS Holdings – bought into the business in February this year.
Mr Kilday, of Glasgow, said it was around the same time that Ms Mone asked him to resign as a director of the company.
He told the tribunal: “She said that MAS had asked for me to resign as director for the sale of the company to go through.”
Mr Kilday’s lawyer, John McMillan, asked him: “What was your reaction?”
He replied: “Obviously, I was not particularly pleased, but I acknowledged it with Michelle and afterwards I sought legal advice on my position.”
He considered resigning because he felt he could not trust Ms Mone and told how he then set up a meeting with the chairman of MJM, Eliaz Poleg.
But, just days before this meeting, Mr Kilday claimed he discovered the listening device in his office.
Asked how he found it, Mr Kilday explained: “It was by chance more than anything else.
“We had a tanning product and, in front of the plant pot, I had samples of this product.
“They were not in a particularly tidy state. This day when I looked over they were tidy, which I found very unusual.
“I went over, had a look in the pot and saw a cable coming out, which was wrapped around the artificial flowers.”
Mr MacMillan asked what his reaction was, Mr Kilday replied: “Horrified.”
Mr Kilday told how he had later found out that Ms Mone had been signing in late at night to the offices using her husband’s “swipe-in” card after Mr Mone had left the company.
Mr Kilday later confronted an official from MAS, Kanishke Manakkara, about the bug but she denied any knowledge of it.
The tribunal heard it was later accepted that the bug had been set up for “business strategic reasons” and that it was Mr Poleg who authorised it.
Mr MacMillan asked what Mr Kilday did after the discovery and he said: “I left.”
It emerged that Mr Kilday now works for Mr Mone’s company Pendulum Apparel.
MJM contests the claim of unfair dismissal and the hearing continues.
Ms Mone’s lingerie and swimwear firm recently registered a major loss in its most recent accounts. Ms Mone rose to fame when Julia Roberts wore a cleavage-enhancing Ultimo bra in the film Erin Brockovich.