PwC drops #35m Facia claim

PricewaterhouseCoopers has dropped its #35m recovery claim against the former chairman and director of the Facia retail group.

The retail empire collapsed two years ago, following the purchase of shoe chain Freeman Hardy Willis, and Price Waterhouse was brought in as administrator.

Despite a 1997 High Court ruling against the firm, PwC pursued the two former executives – chairman Stephen Hinchliffe and Christopher Harrison, a director – in a second case (concluded this week), in a bid to prove they had breached fiduciary duties.

Lawrence Stephens’ solicitor Lawrence Kelly, who represented Harrison, said this week: ‘The firm accused the directors of wrongfully paying sums totalling #35m to companies within the group.’

He added that PwC had to prove there was no commercial justification for this action, and that was a ‘very tall order’.

Kelly said proceedings were futile because neither man was wealthy. A PwC spokeswoman declined to comment.

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