Kingston Smith takes star role in Mayflower probe

Link: Mayflower to be first IDB case

Top 20 firm Kingston Smith will take a central role in the Accountancy Investigation and Discipline Board’s first case, after winning a contract to assist in the inquiry into Mayflower.

The AIDB’s investigation was announced last month and will examine the accounting irregularities at the engineering company. A £20m black hole was discovered in the Mayflower accounts in March this year.

Cameron Scott, executive counsel at the AIDB, said: ‘We have employed Kingston Smith. Its role is to assist with the investigation.’ The probe, he said, would involve the AIDB looking at relevant documents and ‘interviewing the appropriate people in conjunction with our expert accountants’.

Former prime minister and non-executive director at Mayflower, John Major, could well be called up to provide evidence. He was paid £111,000 for his role as a non-executive director and audit committee member, but stepped down in April 2003. He said at the time that the reason for his decision was to concentrate on international speaking engagements.

Hugely experienced Kingston Smith partner and litigation expert, Emile Woolf, will play a central role in the investigation. Woolf has a wealth of experience in disciplinary matters having given evidence at trial and at regulatory and disciplinary tribunals on more than 30 occasions.

He will need to use all that experience in an investigation that could involve PricewaterhouseCoopers and collapsed Big Five firm Andersen as former auditors of the company. Mayflower FD David Thomas Donnelly, is also under investigation.

The £20m black hole discovered in the accounts in March led to a raft of directors tendering their resignations.

Donnelly was joined by chief executive John Simpson and joint managing director John Fleming in leaving Mayflower.

Kingston Smith partners involved in the investigation work were unavailable for comment.

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