Deloitte appeals MG Rover tribunal

DELOITTE has appealed the record-breaking fine it received for its MG Rover work.

The firm lost the tribunal, earlier this year, over its role in advising the owners of MG Rover. Deloitte and its corporate finance partner Maghsoud Einollahi were fined by the Financial Reporting Council’s independent tribunal for their role in advising the owners of the car manufacturer in 2000, over two transactions.

A statement from Deloitte said: “After careful consideration, we have decided to seek leave to appeal the findings of the MG Rover Tribunal.

“We recognise the general desire to move on from this case but do not agree with the main conclusions of the tribunal which we feel could create significant uncertainty for individual members and member firms of the ICAEW.”

The appeal by the firm and the former Deloitte partner Einollahi has been filed to the FRC which will be handed to an individual tribunal member who has not been affiliated with the case so far. That member will assess whether Deloitte has proper grounds to appeal. If they agree that it does, an appeal hearing will be held in public.

There is no time limit on the tribunal member to make a decision on whether an appeal can go forward. The case so far has taken about ten years to get to this stage.

MG Rover Group entered administration on 8 April 2005 with estimated losses of nearly £1bn and about 6,500 staff redundancies, however, during the start of the tribunal the FRC claimed this figure could be higher.

BMW sold MG Rover in May 2000 to Techtronic for £10, with BMW also providing a £427m dowry, a long-term interest-free loan, to Techtronic and paid £75m in lieu of providing warranties to the business. The Phoenix Four – John Towers, Nick Stephenson, John Edwards and Peter Beale – each owned and invested £60,000 in Techtronic.

The four made statements that their stewardship of MG Rover would be for the public good. Phoenix Venture Holdings, the consortium formed by the four businessmen, later acquired all the shares of Techtronic which ultimately became the parent company of MG Rover Group.

The FRC had alleged Deloitte and Einollahi failed to adequately consider the public interest and mitigate risks of conflicts when they gave their advice. They have been found to have committed misconduct in their roles by the independent tribunal.

Einollahi was excluded from the profession for three years and fined £250,000 while Deloitte was fined £14m.

At the end of the tribunal a Deloitte spokesperson said: “We remain disappointed with the outcome of the Tribunal and disagree with its main conclusions. As a firm we take our public interest obligations seriously in everything we do.

“The quality of our work, carried out more than ten years ago, has not been criticised, but the tribunal found against us on a number of points.

The firm warned that the decision could have “negative implications” for advisers, firms, and ICAEW members in business.

“Over the coming weeks, we will continue our discussions with relevant stakeholders and professional bodies about the potentially wide ranging impact on the profession and wider business community of the tribunal findings.” 

Previously the largest fine was £1.4m handed out to PwC in January 2012 for its JP Morgan audit work. 

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