Stagecoach’s Dame Ann Gloag ‘denies’ human trafficking offences

Dame Ann Gloag poses after being appointed Dame Commander following an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

Dame Ann Gloag is co-founder of Stagecoach and several charities (Image: Getty)

Stagecoach founder and philanthropist Dame Ann Gloag said she vigorously defends herself against allegations of human trafficking.

The 80-year-old millionaire – and three members of her family – have been charged in connection with an investigation into alleged human trafficking and immigration crimes.

Police Scotland have confirmed that four people have been charged and are preparing a report.

No arrests were made.

Sources quoted by the Scottish Daily Mail said the charges were the result of “collusion”.

Dame Ann came out quickly and denied any wrongdoing.

A spokesman for the 80-year-old said: “While we cannot comment on the details of an ongoing investigation, Dame Ann Gloag strongly denies the malicious allegations made against her, her foundation and her family members and will vigorously do so herself and to defend the work of her foundation, to protect her legacy and to continue her work to help thousands of people in the UK and abroad every year.’

Dame Ann founded Stagecoach bus company with her brother Brian Souter in 1980 and was made a Dame for her work in business and charity.

Sir Brian Souter and his sister Dame Ann Gloag in the 1990s. They started the UK Transport Group in 1980 with just two buses

Sir Brian Souter and his sister Dame Ann Gloag co-founded Stagecoach in 1980

Her charitable foundation, the Gloag Foundation, works to support projects that “prevent or alleviate poverty and promote the advancement of education, health and religion in the UK and abroad”.

Dame Ann has the backing of senior officials, including Sarah, wife of former Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

She tweeted: “Gordon and I have known Ann Gloag for many years through her deep personal commitment to Freedom from Fistula and supporting girls’ health and education.

“She is a remarkable activist and generous charity supporter. Those fees just don’t add up.’

Another charity expressed its support for Dame Ann, with Monica Boseff, executive director of the Open Door Foundation, saying she has “compassion and high moral values.”

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown's wife came to defend Dame Ann (Image: Twitter)

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s wife came to defend Dame Ann (Image: Twitter)

The foundation, which works to provide “emergency shelters for victims of all forms of human trafficking,” described Dame Ann as a “longtime supporter and friend” who provided donations.

The charity said its support helped it directly support 260 Ukrainian women, children and elderly men in 2021, all said to be at high risk of becoming victims of human trafficking.

Ms Boseff added: “We will continue to stand by Dame Ann as she struggles to clear her name.

“As recent high-profile cases have shown, the problem of human trafficking is a very real and dangerous threat to women, men, boys and girls across Europe.

“Associating Dame Ann’s decades of charity work with these heinous crimes is not only damaging to her legacy, but dangerous for so many victims who really need help.”

Sources quoted by the Scottish Daily Mail said the charges were the result of a “collusion” by eight people who dreamed up a “rooster and bull story”.

They said: “People whom Dame Ann and her family tried to help turned against her and together made complaints that were unfounded – it’s absolutely shocking.”

Dame Ann’s husband David McCleary, 72, her stepdaughter and daughter-in-law Sarah Gloag, 47, and her son-in-law Paul McNeil have also been reportedly charged.

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Justin Scacco

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