Versailles accused of ‘stonewalling’.

Baker Tilly has admitted it was ‘deliberately stonewalled’ in its investigation of struggling trade finance group Versailles, which revealed that there were two sets of accounts being used for transactions. Versailles, which was put into receivership last week by PricewaterhouseCoopers, called in Baker Tilly following a report by Levy Gee which revealed problems over compliance with FRS5, which governs off-balance sheet financing. An insider said that in the course of trying to find the true figures of the company’s turnover, two separate books had been found, allegedly representing UK and non-UK residents. But he said there was ‘no adequate explanation’ for the existence of two accounting systems, and the money was either in the company’s systems, or ‘it was deliberate stonewalling’. Baker Tilly was due to publish its findings at the end of this month, but has now passed the information on to the Serious Fraud Office. The firm worked alongside PwC during part of its investigation. The source said PwC will have a tough job finding out who owes Versailles money and who needs to be paid. PwC insolvency partner Tony Lomas, is one of two partners working on Versailles. He said: ‘This was a significant public company which had very little qualified accounting resources and the fraud took some covering up in the books.’ Lomas said that the firm already had a number of enquiries from potential buyers and it would only be a short time until PwC decided whether to sell the business or continue the work in progress.

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