TO do battle in the boardroom The Apprentice candidates are usually suited and booted with not a hair out of place – but some of them are less squeaky clean than they appear.
This week it emerged Alexander Britez, who appeared on the BBC show in 2011 and was fired after the second task, is facing a hefty £200,000 court fine.
Trouble flared between Britez and neighbours David and Isabel O'Brien when Mrs O'Brien's stepdad tumbled into a "ragged" 3ft trench dug alongside his £1million house in 2018.
The narrow hole had been dug in the passageway between the houses before Britez owned it to deal with a damp problem, and he refused to fill it in, sparking a bitter row.
It went to court, running up vast legal bills on both sides, but estate agent Britez lost the battle and now has to foot the bill.
His story is far from the worst, however – here we reveal Apprentice stars who’ve had run-ins with the law.
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Gary Poulton – who was on the 2015 series of The Apprentice – was arrested that same year after a “disturbance” at the home he shared with his partner and daughter.
The TV star was questioned by police in a 4am visit, taken to a police station and arrested, but was later released without charge.
A spokesperson for West Midlands Police confirmed at the time: "A 34-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of common assault and taken to Chelmsley Wood station.
"He was later released without charge."
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Gary disputed this, writing on social media: “I was not arrested, nor taken into police custody.
“While the police did visit my parents' house I cooperated with them fully and they moved on without further action."
Following his stint on The Apprentice in 2017, Andrew Brady became more well-known for getting engaged to the late Caroline Flack in a whirlwind romance before her tragic death.
In February last year he was jailed for four months following a campaign of harassment against GB News host Dan Wootton.
Brady had an axe, machete, crossbow and knives confiscated from his home, and the judge called him “shameful”.
The judge said Brady’s claims Wootton was in some way responsible for Caroline’s death in February 2020 were “wholly irrational” and concluded the journalist was a genuine friend of the former Love Island host.
It was also revealed Caroline admitted she was scared of Brady in the weeks leading up to her death.
Syed Ahmed was a contestant on the 2006 series of The Apprentice – and famously got together with the eventual winner Michelle Dewberry.
But that year the businessman was arrested a couple of times for drink driving and on suspicion of money laundering.
In July 2006, Syed – who had already been banned from driving – was found three times over the limit by police, and handed a two-month suspended sentence.
A month later he was arrested on suspicion of being involved in a money laundering operation, but released on a bail.
A spokesman later issued a statement for Syed, reading: "After finding out that a case had been brought to Chingford Police Station involving Mr Syed Ahmed’s then business partner, he decided to visit the police station and present the facts.
“He was questioned and the Metropolitan Police took no further action. Mr Syed Ahmed was not involved in any wrong doing.”
When she appeared on The Apprentice in 2006, Sharon McAllister boasted to Lord Sugar she could “deliver the undeliverable”.
But nine years later she was jailed for contempt of court, after repeatedly failing to follow a court order, as part of a legal battle with her former partner.
She strongly denied the allegations against her, but spent three months in prison.
In 2017 she was cleared on appeal, and told the Herald: “People like me get caught up in a system that's broken. "Everyone wanted to make an example of me because I'd been on television and the system is in pieces.
“It's so hard to get your life back. No one stopped to think that this wasn't right."
Just days before the first episode of the 2010 series aired, it was revealed one of the contestants, Christopher Farrell, was on bail for fraud – and had a previous weapons conviction.
The star had made three mortgage applications and one re-mortgage application totalling £750,000 on behalf of clients without informing any of them.
He initially tried to pass the blame to work colleagues before eventually admitting his guilt – and was handed a nine month prison sentence, suspended for two years.
In 2015, he was ordered to pay a £400 fine plus £150 compensation and a further court fee of £125 when he was found guilty of punching a taxi driver in the mouth.
Christopher wasn’t the only one with a criminal past in his series, as it came out that Joanna Riley had previously been convicted for racially abusing three cab drivers after a boozy night out.
Joanna kicked and caused £1,000 damage to the taxi drivers' cars and launched a foul-mouthed tirade after one of them made a sexually explicit comment to her.
She pleaded guilty to “causing racially aggravated fear or provocation of violence” and was given a two-year conditional discharge.
Joanna’s conviction never showed up when BBC producers did a background check on her, as it had been cleared.
He’s famous for his “BOSH!” catchphrase in the 2019 series of The Apprentice – but Thomas Skinner was previously in trouble with the law over handling stolen goods.
In 2011 he was sentenced in court after being charged with dishonestly handling 4,992 tubes of Body Shop cleansing gels worth nearly £40,000 and having 2,000 diazepam tablets.
In the same trial a mate of his from the same area was accused of having nearly 10,000 cleansing gels worth £76,000.
When contacted, the BBC said it was aware of Thomas’s past mistakes as part of its extensive background checks, and that the conviction had been spent.
Before she appeared on the 2017 series of The Apprentice, Michaela Wain had a criminal conviction for obstructing a police officer in Bolton, where she’s from.
The businesswoman was arrested and fined £1,000 following the incident in 2014 – and was increasingly worried about it coming to light when she was announced for the BBC show.
A source told The Sun, at the time: “Michaela is incredibly embarrassed about what happened.
“Ever since she won her place on The Apprentice she’s been worried about people finding out.”
Another Apprentice candidate who had a conviction before The Apprentice was 2014's James Hill.
James was convicted of assault back in 2009, after getting involved in two brawls.
One victim told The Sun James assaulted him after he spoke to his girlfriend, and then four months later he bit another man’s ear on Christmas Eve.
James admitted carrying out the two assaults and received a six-month jail sentence suspended for 18 months. He was also ordered to pay a total of £500 compensation to his victims and £755 in costs.
BBC producers said at the time: “It is a spent conviction under the provisions of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and therefore James was eligible to apply for the programme.”
A spokesperson added: “James is not proud of what happened, he was young and irresponsible and very much regrets and has learned from his actions.”
In 2017, a year after she took part in The Apprentice, Natalie Hughes’ husband Kristopher O’Malley was jailed for being part of a £700,000 heroin ring.
After being snared by a large-scale cop probe, O’Malley received six and a half years in prison.
When contacted by The Sun at the time, she said: “I’m just a hard-working lassie trying to better myself. The court case has nothing to do with me.
“I wasn’t even at the court case. I have nothing to say about it.”
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It came just four years after O'Malley had been previously locked up for drug-dealing — following a trial that began with Natalie sharing the dock with him.
Natalie was cleared of being involved in the supply of heroin and cocaine before she appeared on The Apprentice.
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