Law – Andersens bids to end car case

Arthur Andersen will attempt this week to shake off the last legal suit resulting from the collapse of the De Lorean sports car venture.

The firm is set to spend millions of pounds in a New York state court defending its audit of the De Lorean Motor Company against allegations that it failed to report suspicions that senior executives were involved in an elaborate fraud.

The Belfast-based company crashed in 1982 with debts of $86m.

David Allard, acting as trustee in bankruptcy for the company, has filed a $100m claim for damages. The case, which got underway last week with the selection of jurors and starts in earn-est this week, follows the inability of both sides to find a settlement.

Andersens agreed to pay the UK government $35m (#21m) last November following a 13-year legal battle.

But last month Andersens failed to strike out Allard’s claim, leaving the way clear for a full-scale court battle.

Embarrassingly for the government, Andersens is likely to present hundreds of secret Cabinet docu-ments it obtained after protracted legal. It intends to use the documents to show that any fault lay with the government.

Iain Plaistowe, head of professional practice at the firm, said: ‘It is a ridicu-lous case. We have lots of good information at our disposal. The discovery phase in the UK revealed a great deal about why the De Lorean project went ahead. We intend to defend (our actions) vigorously.’

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