New probe into £35m Wiggins ‘error’

Chris Dickson, executive counsel of the Joint Disciplinary Scheme, will examinethe role of Lance Blackstone, chartered accountant and chairman of the leisureto construction group’s audit committee, and that of the auditors from mid-tierfirm Kidsons.

A spokeswoman for Kidsons said the firm was aware it might be subject to aninvestigation and it intended to fully comply with any probe once it hadreceived official notice from the institute.

Geoffrey Lansbury, Wiggins finance director since 1987, is also expected to facedisciplinary investigation from his professional body, the Chartered Instituteof Management Accountants. ACCA-qualified Leslie Inwood, company secretary forthe leisure and construction group, could also appear before an internaldisciplinary board at his institute.

An ACCA spokesman said: ‘We are aware of the concerns surrounding the WigginsGroup but beyond that we cannot make any specific comments.’

The ICAEW referred the case to the Joint Disciplinary Scheme following a reviewof the Financial Reporting Review Panel’s findings published in March.

Wiggins was forced to restate its accounts by millions of pounds for the lastfive years, turning each to a loss. Its £25.1m profits for the year to 31 March2000 became a Pounds 9.9m loss. Profits going back to 1995 also turned to losses, after a dispute over revenue recognition and development costs.

Speaking at the time of the reissue, Richard Sykes QC, chairman of the FRRP,said investors should be able to rely on Wiggins’ published accounts, but couldnot because of accounting errors.


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