PracticeConsultingGreen light for SFO Versailles inquiry

Green light for SFO Versailles inquiry

The Serious Fraud Office is to launch its investigation into Versailles at the end of this week - more than a year after it said it would look into the collapse of the trade finance group.

According to the Times the delays arose because investigators wanted to wait for Versailles receivers PricewaterhouseCoopers to conclude its probe first.

The company, which went into receivership in February of last year, collapsed with debts of about Pounds 100m. Investigators are expected to question former chief executive Carl Cushnie.

Cushnie claims he knew nothing about financial wrongdoings, despite selling Pounds 29m worth of shares a few months prior to the collapse.

Versailles floated on the Alternative Investment Market in 1995 and grew to a market value of Pounds 630m by the time its shares were suspended in December 1999 after accounting irregularities were discovered. It is alleged that someone inside Versailles was setting up ghost companies to make fictitious transactions, thereby inflating the company share price.

Last year, PwC filed a Pounds 50m lawsuit against finance director Frederick Clough for fraud and breach of fiduciary duty.

Links

Ex-Versailles chairman to sue former FD

Versailles FD accused of dragging feet

Versailles’ investors pursue legal action

PwC: Only £5m to be recoverable from Versailles

Versailles comes under renewed fire over accounting irregularities

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