Fraud office: no criminal probe of MG Rover sale

Author: Reuters

The SFO said in a statement it had reviewed documents relating to the
transaction and the 2005 demise of the company and determined after
consultation with legal advisers that there were no grounds “to
initiate a criminal investigation”.

MG Rover, Britain’s last major independent carmaker, went into administration
in April 2005 with debts of almost £1.3 billion and the loss of 6,000 jobs.

In July this year, following the publication of a four-year probe into the
demise of the now Chinese-owned car plant, the department of business asked
the SFO to determine if there were any grounds for criminal prosecution.

Four executives, known as the Phoenix Four, took over MG Rover in May 2000
after buying it for a nominal £10 with an interest-free loan from a previous
owner, German car group BMW.

The four have said there was no basis for an SFO investigation.

A 2006 parliamentary committee criticised the government for its handling of
MG’s collapse, citing specifically its lack of dealings with the company’s
new owners and a lack of preparation before the firm went bust.

Opposition politicians accused the government of wasting millions of pounds of
taxpayers’ money to prop up the ailing carmaker in the run-up to a
parliamentary election in 2005.

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