News in Brief – 27 May

DeLorean case settlement

Arthur Andersen has paid a $27m (£17m) out-of-court settlement to end its part in the DeLorean Motor Company scandal in the US. The firm agreed to pay DeLorean’s bankruptcy trustee to complete the last litigation stemming from its work as company auditor. Andersens was pursuing an appeal after the New York Supreme Court found it was negligent and ordered it to pay $46m. To avoid further delay, the firm has agreed to set aside its appeal in favour of the settlement.

ECJ to decide on financial outsourcing VAT The status of Customs & Excise’s stance on VAT on financial services outsourcing will be decided by the European Court of Justice. Although the chancellor introduced a measure to deprive banks and financial services companies of VAT relief on outsourcing, a VAT tribunal recently found against Customs’ position in the FDR case. Last week, a High Court judge referred Customs’ appeal against a similar ruling over PEP administration services provided by Continuum to the ECJ. Customs said it was ‘confident that the ECJ will vindicate the Budget changes’.

Free software from NatWest High street bank NatWest is offering free accounts software to lure new business customers. Some 80,000 copies of the NatWest Book-Keeper program will be distributed over the next few months.

AAT names new president The Association of Accounting Technicians has named Margaret Rawding as its new president. She is the first CIPFA council member to be elected AAT president and is the principal accountant for Blackpool borough council.

Accountant arrested A London chartered accountant has been arrested by the National Crime Squad as part of a global investigation into alleged money laundering and share fund conspiracy. Paul Martin Warren of Gainsleys was released on police bail pending further inquiries.

Investigation into Revenue The Commons Treasury committee will today reveal the findings of a major investigation into the Inland Revenue, which was chaired by Tory MP Sir Michael Spicer. Written evidence and a hearing with Revenue officials were taken to review self-assessment progress, determine progress in encouraging compliance, and assess the impact of the proposed merger with the Contributions Agency.

Macgill case goes to Lords District Auditor John Magill, the Deloitte & Touche forensics partner who led the Westminster council homes-for-votes investigation, has reportedly been given the green light to take the case to the House of Lords. The Audit Commission spokeswoman refused to confirm the reports, however, while Deloittes said no decision had been made.

Revenue holds open day The Inland Revenue is holding an open day for accountants and agents at its accounts office in Shipley, West Yorkshire. The event, in November, will help customers understand how tax payments are processed and gives an opportunity to talk to accounts office managers about their work. Reservations can be made on: (tel) 01274 539636 or (fax) 01274 539610.

Clarification In the 25 March 1999 edition of Accountancy Age (‘Andersens under fire’ page 3), we reported on the findings of a recent trading statement regarding the IT recruitment company Corporate Services Group (‘CSG’). In the article, we stated that ‘(O)ver £20m in loan notes and £4.8m in related goodwill will have to be written off in 1998 … since the training division, which bought itself out of CSG in December, would be unlikely to pay its debts’.

We wish to clarify that although it is true that CSG has written off the loan notes and related goodwill, this is no indication of the ability of the Training Group, which is now a separate company, to pay its debts generally. We apologise for any confusion that this statement may have caused.

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