Transtec accountant admits fears over criminal prosecution

Max Ayriss, former TransTec chief accountant, came forward last weekend to make a written statement to a Sunday newspaper, because he said that he was not ‘happy’ about what he was asked to do with the grant applications by Robinson.

Although the two parted amicably he copied the relevant papers ‘in case someone came knocking on the door and asked me to explain myself.’

The allegations against Robinson derive from dealings conducted between 1986-1988, when Ayriss claimed his boss urged him to apply for the maximum amount of grant money by reclassifying expenditure to boost research and development figures.

At that time, TransTec’s research and development operations were eligible for grants and a certain amount could be reimbursed every quarter.

He said he had done nothing for ten years about the matter because ‘I may be facing criminal charges because I completed the form although Geoffrey signed them.’

The DTI has already promised to investigate the claims, and is already gearing up to launch a full-scale probe into the former paymaster general’s affairs.The renewed focus on scandals at the company, which is now subject to receivership procedures conducted by Arthur Andersen’s, will add further complications to the Big Five firm’s enquiries, and could scupper plans to sell off the business.

An Andersen’s spokesman said: ‘We have had nothing to do with Ayriss and we do not know that details of his claims. We do not have any view as to whether it will be relevant to selling the TransTec business.’

At the same time, Andersens could face its own inquiry by the English ICA into whether it should have accepted the receivership appointment, given its previous corporate finance relationship with the company.

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