JDS takes Luckin case

The English ICA has transferred its investigation into the role played by auditor Bird Luckin in the #1bn losses suffered by hotels group Queens Moat Houses to the senior accountancy watchdog, the Joint Disciplinary Scheme, writes Phillip Inman.

The investigation, which has faced increasing criticism for a series of delays since the company nearly crashed in 1992, will be taken up by JDS head Chris Dickson.

Fifteen-partner firm Bird Luckin was sacked by Queens Moat in June 1993, after the troubled company had been forced to reveal large-scale accounting irregularities that led to the suspension of its shares on the Stock Exchange and property write-downs worth more than #800m.

Since then, the institute has waited for the results of a major Department of Trade & Industry investigation, led by Binder Hamlyn senior partner Adrian Burn and barrister Patrick Phillips, before launching its own probe.

Binder Hamlyn has run up bills of more than #2.5m since taking on the investigation. A report has yet to be published.

Chris Dickson said a prima facie case had yet to be established in the case against any members, but he would be looking into the ‘discovery of serious accounting issues in relation to Queens Moat Houses plc group which led to prior year-end adjustments in financial statements for the year ending 31 December 1992’. He added he would also be questioning a member of the institute who was a director of the company about his sharedealings at the time.

Four chartered accountants sat on the company’s board: Martin Marcus, deputy chairman and joint managing director; finance director David Hersey; deputy FD Allan Porter; and Maurice Hart, an ex-senior partner of Bird Luckin.

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