Maxwell – FDs reflect on JDS judgment

Finance directors – particularly PricewaterhouseCoopers audit clients – said they would be scrutinising carefully the JDS judgment over Coopers & Lybrand’s involvement in the affairs of the late Robert Maxwell.

FTSE-100 Group chairman Christopher Pearce, a PwC client and FD at Rentokil Initial, said: ‘Unfortunately, by their nature, these disciplinary procedures take a long time. This appears to be more of a historic matter than endemic.

‘I think the lessons of the 1980s have been learned and we have seen an improvement both in auditing and accounting standards.’

Condor Ferries FD Stephen Maycock said Coopers had clearly operated outside its responsibilities. ‘Auditors should be expected to report if they are aware of financial difficulties or inappropriate actions of company directors,’ he said.

‘They have an obligation to report within their responsibilities within the auditing guidelines. Their only alternative is to resign.’

Marylebone Cricket Club FD Colmar Lewis echoed Maycock’s views. ‘If there has been any collusion between the auditors and officials then they are in neglect of their duties to the company,’ he said.

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