JDS Inquiry – Barings probe date set

The Joint Disciplinary Scheme inquiry into the role played by Coopers & Lybrand and two of its partners in the collapse of Barings Bank will begin in November, Accountancy Age has learnt, writes Lucinda Kemeny.

Coopers acted as auditor to Barings in 1993 and was involved in the 1994 audit at the time that Nick Leeson, who could be released from prison this weekend, was attempting to cover up the £860m he had lost on the financial markets.

The JDS laid complaints against the two PwC audit partners, Gareth Davies and Andrew Turner, last year and executive counsel Chris Dickson said that it had taken longer than expected for the matter to reach a tribunal. If the tribunal finds against them, Davies, Turner and PricewaterhouseCoopers may face a multi-million pound penalty.

‘I would hope that the matter may be brought forward and that the Woolf reforms will encourage both sides to push ahead to a conclusion,’ he said.

The tribunal will consider two main points. The first concerns Coopers’ and Davies’ involvement in the audits of the accounts, including consolidated accounts, of Barings Securities Limited and Barings Securities London for the year ended 31 December 1993. The second will examine the audits of the accounts, including the consolidated accounts, of both the company and its London branch for the year ended 31 December 1994. These complaints involve Coopers, Davies and Turner.

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