Former SSL finance chiefs charged with fraud

Link: SSL appoints FD to run European division

Paul Anthony Saunders, 39, former group FD, Christine Ann Davenport, former UK FD along with the former group chief executive Iain Charles Douglas Carter, 51, former continental Europe managing director, Dieno George, 47, former UK sales director, Brian James John Ruane, 45, as well as Colin Francis Wilson, 60, the purchasing director of AAH Pharmaceuticals appeared at Macclesfield Magistrates Court today.

The charges they are facing are false statements by company directors and corruption.

All defendants have been released on bail, while the case is transferred to the Crown Court for trial on a date not yet fixed.

The case against the six former executives arose out of an internal investigation by SSL in 2001, following which suspected fraud was referred to the SFO – a criminal investigation commenced in July 2001.

In its statement, the SFO said SSL have fully co-operated with the investigation. Neither SSL nor any of its current employees are to be subject to criminal proceedings.

The origins of the case date back to 2001 when SSL was embroiled in an accounting scandal involving its former auditor Andersen after a £50m stock error was uncovered.

SSL enlisted KPMG to investigate the possibility that profits had been inflated by booking unconfirmed sales and Andersen was the subject of a Joint Disciplinary Scheme probe.

Andersen was replaced by KPMG in October 2001.

On Monday this week, SSL sold its Marigold industrial gloves business for £22m.

Related reading