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Love Hemp ‘Rigorously Refutes’ Allegations Levelled By Former Managing Director

LOVE Hemp has responded to damning allegations made publicly by its former managing director Philip Small, who left the company in November 2022.

The Aquis-listed CBD retailer, which has seen its shares suspended since May, issued an RNS on Monday, January 30 stating it ‘rigorously refutes’ the numerous accusations.

Mr Small’s account of his year-long stint at Love Hemp, understood to have been published in a public Telegram group, levels a number of serious allegations against the company and its directors.

In response, Love Hemp’s board of directors said it was ‘shocked by the allegations’ and levelled a number of similar accusations at Mr Small, stating that actions during his short tenure ‘damaged the brand and resulted in unquantifiable losses’.

Investigation launched

In its RNS, Love Hemp said that the comments ‘are being thoroughly investigated by the company’s advisors including Love Hemp’s legal team’.

“However, until such investigation is completed, the board has no reason to believe any of these comments to be true.”

The statement also attempted to distance and differentiate itself from ‘the previous’ board, against which many of the claims are levelled, stating that the current board ‘cannot justify why the previous board made the decision to select Mr Small as the Managing Director’.

Aquis (AQSE) has also weighed in on the dispute, telling The Times: “In light of new allegations made, there will be additional scrutiny of Love Hemp by the Aquis Stock Exchange regulatory team, who will work closely with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) as necessary.”

Anthony Joshua signed a 3-year endorsement deal with Love Hemp in 2021.

It added that if Love Hemp continues to be unable to secure an FCA-authorised corporate advisor, which under the exchange’s rules is needed for stocks to be listed, ‘the stock will be delisted from AQSE’.

Since its shares were suspended following the resignation of its Aquis corporate advisor Peterhouse Capital in May, Love Hemp has on numerous occasions informed investors that it was in ‘discussions with a proposed new AQSE corporate adviser’ in order to see its stock relisted.

After failing to secure an advisor for six months, Love Hemp informed investors in December that it would be ‘unable to complete the audit of its financial statements’ by the end of the year due to significant changes in board members and a refinancing of the company.

It continued that it had agreed with AQSE that it will not apply to lift the suspension until after the financial statements have been filed at an as-yet-undisclosed date.

Mr Small told The Times that he ‘stands by the allegations I have made that are in the public domain’.

In a statement to BusinessCann, Mr Small said that the ‘comments made by the company are unfounded’ and defamatory, and that his legal team have made it clear that ‘if the statement is not rescinded, we reserve the right to issue proceedings against the CEO, Tony Calamita personally.’

“In so far as the matter pertaining to a takeover of Love Hemp, again I refute this, the offer we made was never put to shareholders and we believe that it offered far greater long term value to shareholders that what the current offer does.”

BusinessCann has also contacted Mr Calamita who said he had nothing to add to comments made in his company’s recent press release.

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