Andersen’s De Lorean hopes dashed

Arthur Andersen’s hopes that its controversial audit of the De Lorean sports car company would be laid to rest were dashed last week by a US court.

The firm was told it had failed in its application to have a $100m (#62m) claim from the creditors of founder John De Lorean’s US parent company thrown out.

The decision follows a similar action brought by the UK government which pumped #77m into the Belfast-based De Lorean Motor Company before it collapsed in 1982.

Arthur Andersen agreed to pay over #20m in an out-of-court settlement last year, a sum roughly equivalent to the legal bill paid by the UK taxpayer.

The actions arise from allegations that Arthur Andersen failed to spot a massive fraud that led directly to the collapse of the car company. The accountancy firm, on the other hand, has argued that government officials knew the investment was a high-risk venture and put inadequate safeguards in place.

A judge in New York ordered the trial start on 29 January. A spokesman for Arthur Andersen responded: ‘The firm resists the allegation made by the trustees and will present a vigorous defence.’ Insiders expect the dispute will be settled to avoid a costly hearing.

The trustee in the bankruptcy, David Allard, is pursuing the action after Arthur Andersen failed to have him included in the deal with the government.

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