Stagecoach millionaire Dame Ann Gloag, 80, is charged with human trafficking: Scottish tycoon worth £730m is one of four family members quizzed by detectives – but vows to ‘vigorously’ defend herself after ‘people she tried to help turned on her’
- Scottish businesswoman Dame Ann Gloag, 80, her husband and two other family members have been charged in connection with human trafficking offences
- The multi-millionaire and philanthropist was charged by police on Thursday
- Stepdaughter and daughter-in-law, Sarah Gloag, 47, and her son-in-law Paul McNeil were also questioned by detectives and all four have now been charged
Stagecoach tycoon Dame Ann Gloag, her husband and two other family members have been charged in connection with human trafficking offences.
The Mail can reveal the 80-year-old multi-millionaire and philanthropist was charged after a police interview on Thursday.
Dame Ann – one of Scotland’s richest women – was accompanied by her husband David McCleary, 72, when she attended Livingston police station in West Lothian.
Her stepdaughter and daughter-in-law Sarah Gloag, 47, and her son-in-law Paul McNeil were also questioned by detectives investigating allegations of human trafficking – and all four were charged.
Dame Ann (pictured) was charged in connection with human trafficking offences after a police interview on Thursday
Who is Stagecoach millionaire Ann Gloag?
Dame Ann Gloag is a Scottish businesswoman who co-founded the international transport company Stagecoach.
Born in Perth, Scotland, the 80-year-old started out as a qualified nurse, spending a 20-year career on a burns unit as a sister.
She went on to establish the Stagecoach Group in 1980 using the redundancy money her father was given from his days as a bus driver. Working with her brother, Brian Souter, and first husband Robin, she set up the company which initially ran buses from Dundee to London.
By the early 1990s, Stagecoach had acquired National Bus Company operations in Cumberland, Hampshire, East Midlands, Ribble, Southdown and the United Counties. Stagecoach bought further bus operations in Scotland, Newcastle and London, with Manchester being added in 1993.
She was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2019 New Year Honours list in recognition of her business and charitable work in the UK and overseas
Last night a Police Scotland spokesman said: ‘On January 19, 2023, four individuals were charged in connection with an investigation into alleged human trafficking and immigration offences. A report will be sent to the Procurator Fiscal.’
A spokesman for Dame Ann said: ‘Whilst we cannot comment on the details of an ongoing investigation, Dame Ann Gloag strongly disputes the malicious allegations that have been made against her, her foundation and members of her family, and will vigorously defend herself and the work of her foundation to protect her legacy and continue her work helping thousands of people in the UK and abroad every year.’
Sources close to Dame Ann said last night that she and her husband had been victims of ‘collusion’ by eight people who had concocted a ‘cock-and-bull story’.
The insider said: ‘This investigation has been a Kafkaesque nightmare for the last two years.
‘People who Dame Ann and her family tried to help turned on them and colluded in making complaints that were baseless – it is absolutely shocking.’
It is understood the allegations were made by people who were brought to Scotland as part of Dame Ann’s charity work.
The Gloag Foundation supports ‘projects that prevent or relieve poverty and encourage the advancement of education, health and religion in the UK and overseas’.
Dame Ann, former nurse and co-founder of the international transport company Stagecoach, served as an executive director with the firm until May 2000.
She founded Freedom From Fistula in 2008 and expanded the charity to help more than 20,000 women and children across Africa.
The charity is dedicated to helping women and girls who are injured and left incontinent following prolonged, obstructed childbirth – by providing free surgical repairs for patients already suffering with fistula, as well as maternity care to prevent fistulas from happening at all.
Dame Ann previously helped establish a hospital in Malawi and also founded Kenya Children’s Homes in 2002 which now educates and cares for more than 1,500 children every year in Kenya.
In 2019, she was awarded the honour of Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire by the Queen, in recognition of her business and charitable endeavours.
Dame Ann has a combined worth of £730million together with her brother, Sir Brian Souter, 68 (pictured)
Dame Ann has a combined worth of £730million together with her brother, Sir Brian Souter, 68.
She has previously told how she amassed her wealth by ‘fighting for survival’.
Before her business career, she worked as a unit sister in Bridge of Earn Hospital, Perthshire, where she met her future husband, Robin Gloag, while he was a patient.
By the 1970s, the couple were running a small caravan sales business. But, after 20 years in nursing, Dame Ann Gloag branched out.
The couple, along with Mrs Gloag’s brother, bought a bus for £425.
Their intention was to take the trip of a lifetime to China but the plan failed through visa problems.
Instead, the entrepreneurs were invited by a construction company to provide transport for workers travelling to building sites.
The brother and sister realised the potential and with their savings and their father’s timely redundancy payment of £25,000, they bought two more buses.
Stagecoach expanded from its limited Perthshire routes to offering cheap tickets between Dundee and London.
The venture took off and Stagecoach Group is now an international company operating buses, trains, trams and ferries.
Dame Ann’s former husband Robin was killed in a car crash in December 2007 and she has been married to Mr McCleary since 1990.
At her 70th birthday party in 2012 she had 250 guests at her home – Kinfauns Castle in Perthshire – as well as live performances by legendary singer-songwriter Neil Sedaka and veteran Scots pop star Lulu.