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PwC were reporting accountants for the float of the company and 106 of the shareholders, represented by solicitors Edwin Coe, have claimed that the firm should have spotted several fabricated figures in the prospectus. These included that the previous year’s turnover had been inflated almost nine times and the number of hits on the company’s web site had been grossly overstated.
The company itself indicated that income in the first six months of 2000 was inflated 30 times.
‘Although PwC deny the claim and blame (former chief executive Steven) Laitman and then through him the company, the shareholders regard reporting accountants as their protection against false statements,’ said David Greene of Edwin Coe. ‘PwC did not spot the discrepancies.’
A spokesperson for PwC said it had not yet seen the writ and could not comment.