Kingston Smith left hanging

Uncertainty is surrounding troubled cash shell Boustead’s attempts to remove its auditor Kingston Smith from the role.

Link: Kingston Smith refuses demand to resign audit client

A month has passed since Boustead called for Kingston Smith to step down as auditor. And despite claims by senior sources at Boustead that an extraordinary general meeting to kick out Kingston Smith is imminent, no date appears to have been set.

Crucial to the retention of Kingston Smith as auditor will be the opinion of Fulton Partners. With a majority 54% stake in the company, Fulton could prove the deciding factor in any vote.

Another cash shell in which Fulton is a major shareholder, former AIM-listed business Easier, is looking to new auditors Brebner Allen & Trapp to sign off its accounts after weeks of delays.

Last November, Easier lost in the courts against auditor Deloitte, after it attempted to block the Big Four firm from issuing a statement on its resignation of the audit. Deloitte resigned after failing to receive an adequate response to requests for information from Easier relating to its investments.

Jose Goumal, a partner at BA&T, said that matters were ‘progressing well’ with Easier, and the firm was looking to finalise the accounts ‘as soon as possible’.

Easier chairman and senior executive at Fulton Partners, David Gough, told Accountancy Age that issues at both Boustead and Easier over auditors were ‘not linked whatsoever’.

Kingston Smith said it had so far received no notice of an EGM at Boustead. The firm issued a qualification to Boustead’s 31 March 2004 accounts over a missing £2.6m asset. Boustead blamed the auditor for ‘uncertainty generated in the press’ about its ability to track down the missing millions, and called for it to resign.

Kingston refused to step down, saying that it did ‘not believe it would be in the best interests of Boustead plc’s shareholders or creditors’.

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