Duncan Bannatyne says he can no longer afford to invest in new ventures

Dragons’ Den investor Duncan Bannatyne says his ex-wife walked off with such a big settlement he had to make staff redundant.

Duncan, 63, who made his fortune with his chain of health clubs Bannatyne’s, Tweets that his decree absolute has come through, meaning his divorce to wife of five years Joanne McCue has been finalised.

I just received my Decree Absolute by email. Isn’t that nice? #DivorcedForMoney by a #GoldDiggingFamily,‘ he Tweeted.

He met Joanne in 2006 and they have two children together.

The Sunday Times Rich List estimated the split with her was one of the reasons Duncan‘s personal fortune dropped from £430m in 2011 to £85m last year.

Last year, Bannatyne’s was reported to have laid off 43 people, and when one of Duncan‘s Twitter followers asked him to look at a potential investment, the Dragon replied: ‘I can’t do that as have no spare cash & having to make staff redundant due to cost of divorce.’

‘A handful of redundancies were confined to the new projects team as Duncan consolidates the business in line with the cost of the divorce and market conditions.

‘However investment continues to grow established business streams and key performance areas, including a call centre operation in Darlington,’ says a spokesman for Bannatyne’s.