Ex-Bridge partner’s court date pushed back

EX-BRIDGE BUSINESS RECOVERY partner James Bradney’s court date over fraud allegations has been pushed back for a second time.

The preliminary court hearing for Bradney and accountant Michael Worrall was originally scheduled for October 2013 and was pushed back to 10 February. Accountancy Age has learned that the preliminary hearing will now take place on 24 February at Sevenoaks Maidstone Crown Court

James Bradney was one of the founding partners of insolvency firm Bridge Business Recovery. Worrall was the firm’s accountant.

Both Bradney and Worrall have been charged with five counts of conspiracy to commit fraud by abuse of a position of trust and one count of conspiracy to commit false accounting, understood to be in relation to the preparation of false management accounts.

However, Bradney has also been charged with a further two counts of false accounting, understood to relate to alleged falsified estate deposit accounts.

Kent Police raised the court summons, which was issued on 12 September.

The preliminary hearing is where both parties can enter their plea, but are not forced to. If both plead guilty a court date is likely to be set for sentencing. However, if there are pleas of not guilty by either individual, then a date for trial will be given.

KPMG administrators Samantha Bewick and Colin Haig were appointed joint-administrators to Bridge Business Recovery following the discovery of accounting irregularities in July 2011.

Bradney had his ICAEW licence revoked with immediate effect “by urgent order” in July 2011 following the allegations of fraud. At the time the ICAEW said it believed Bradney’s capability to continue to function as a licence holder was “prejudicial to the public interest”. Bradney also filed for bankruptcy in July 2012.

According to the creditors report from KPMG in August 2011, unsecured creditors were owed more than £4m including £1.3m to HMRC. It is estimated that this group of creditors would receive just 20p for every £1 owed. However, the wage bill of £8,272.83 was likely to be paid in full.

Former Bridge partner Tony Murphy joined Harrisons, which bought Bridge’s London office. Cases where James Bradney was the lead practitioner were sold to insolvency firm Griffins.

Meanwhile Andrew Duncan, Matt Evans, Alex Cadwallader and Rob Horton initially joined Leonard Curtis following the collapse. However, since then, Rob Horton has left to join boutique London firm Auria Recovery.

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