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Accountancy watchdog to probe Carillion finance directors

PUBLISHED: 09:06 19 March 2018 | UPDATED: 09:06 19 March 2018

High-profile company failures such as that of construction giant Carillion has led the government to consider reforms to insolvency legislation. Picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire

High-profile company failures such as that of construction giant Carillion has led the government to consider reforms to insolvency legislation. Picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Britain's accountancy watchdog has started an investigation into the handling of financial statements by two former finance directors at collapsed construction giant Carillion.

The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) will probe former group finance directors Richard Adam and Zafar Khan over statements made between 2014 and 2017.

The inquiry will cover the years ending December 31 2014, 2015 and 2016, the six-month period to June 30, 2017, and the preparation and reporting of other financial information between 2014-2017.

The FRC announced a separate investigation earlier this year into how accountancy giant KPMG audited the accounts of Carillion, which plunged into liquidation in January.

The firm’s demise left in its wake a £900m debt pile, a £590m pension deficit and hundreds of millions of pounds in unfinished public contracts.

City banks, law firms and accountancy giants have been sharply rebuked by MPs over Carillion’s fall, with former bosses coming under fire for the pay awards they received as the company struggled.

An influential group of MPs claimed in February that Mr Adam “dumped” his last shares in Carillion – worth hundreds of thousands of pounds – at the first possible moment.

Mr Adam retired at the end of December 2016. On March 1, 2017 he sold his entire existing shareholding for £534,000, including performance awards for 2013-2015 of £277,000 which vested on his retirement.

He then sold his long-term incentive plan awards for 2014 on May 8, 2017, the day they vested, for £242,000.

In total, in March and May 2017 he sold shares worth £776,000, the Work and Pensions and Business Select Committees revealed last month.

Mr Khan had his contract terminated last September after eight months in the job, having “spooked” Carillion’s board with a financial update a few days earlier that showed there had been a further decline in the company’s position since the “shock” £845m contract write down in July 2017, said the committees.

The Official Receiver said 8,216 jobs have been saved since the company went into liquidation, with nearly 1,500 workers losing their jobs.

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