Fraud charges brought over Versailles

Former chairman and chief executive Carl Cushnie and finance director Frederick Clough were released on unconditional bail until Friday when they will appear in Bow Street Magistrates Court.

Lorraine Jones, Clough’s personal assistant, has also been ‘charged with aiding and abetting, counselling and procuring Carlton Cushnie and Frederick Clough to commit Fraudulent Trading’, according to a statement from the Serious Fraud Office.

Versailles went into receivership in February 2000 after it collapsed with debts of around £100m. The Department of Trade and Industry The case referred the case to the SFO on 16 November 1999. The London Stock Exchange suspended trading in Versailles shares on 8 December 1999.

Versailles floated on the Alternative Investment Market in 1995 and grew to a market value of £630m when its shares suspended in December after accounting irregularities were discovered. It is alleged that a Versailles employee created a false client list, each with fake profits, to help raise the company’s share price.

The case has been plagued by delays since the SFO took it on because investigators wanted to wait for the company’s receivers PricewaterhouseCoopers to conclude its probe.

Cushnie has always claimed he knew nothing about the financial irregularities, despite selling off £29m worth of shares several months prior to the company’s collapse.


Versailles FD accused of dragging feet

Versailles comes under renewed fire over accounting irregularities

Ex-Versailles chairman to sue former FD

Versailles’ investors pursue legal action

Versailles case controller leaves SFO

Only £5m to be recoverable from Versailles collapse, PwC to tell creditors

JDS inquiry will not investigate Former Versailles FD

Joint Disciplinary Scheme to investigate trade finance group Versailles collapse

Related reading