Torex saga takes new twist

A former Torex Retail finance chief
has sensationally quit two positions in the wake of the current scandal at the
software provider. Mark Woodbridge served as FD of the original Torex between
2000 and 2003, but took up the role of business development director after the
company merged with

He has now quit as FD of AT Communications and dropped his non-executive role
at healthcare software group Ascribe.

He resigned from Torex in October 2003 but some doubt has arisen concerning
his subsequent connections with Torex Retail. A letter dated 5 September 2006
from deposed chairman Chris Moore to the audit committee chairman Geoffrey
Forster, said that Woodbridge was involved in the treatment of a £2.5m payment
to the company detailed in its interims, the FT reported.

The Serious Fraud Office turned its
attentions on the issue after it emerged questions were raised
by Torex’s auditor BDO Stoy Hayward in a letter to the company last August. BDO
queried two cash payments of £2.5m and £1.5m, and a nominal ledger entry of
£2.5m for the first half of 2006.

BDO expressed concern there was no written contract for the payment of £2.5m,
which Moore attributed to a £5m contract negotiated with former executive
chairman Rob Loosemoore to sell the software firm’s products in certain markets.

In a response letter, which now forms a major part of the SFO’s investigation,
Moore admitted that finance director Marcus Leek was not aware of the contract.

Forster, who was appointed as Torex’s interim chairman last week; and Rob
Loosemore, Torex’s chairman until 2005, left their non-executive berths at
spread betting company London Capital Group earlier this week. Forster
also stepped down from his chairman’s role at pharmaceutical group Premier

Related links:

Torex chief attacks his board 

Torex auditors queried accounts before

Three people in Torex raid named

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