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Ex-Finelist boss faces DTI probe

The DTI has confirmed that the former chairman of the failed Finelist Group, Chris Swan, is to face proceedings under the Company Directors Disqualification Act1986.

The action relates to Finelist and to Autela & Edmunds Walker (AEW) - the parts distribution business Swan bought back from the Finelist receivers in May 2001.

Four other directors also face investigation - including Swan's former executive directors Brian Ritchie and Sadhana Reddy.

The 600-site, 5500-employee Finelist group went into receivership in October 2000 amid rumours of financial irregularities. The collapse followed the £500m turnover group's £1bn merger with French distributor Europe Auto Distribution - it was EAD who blew the whistle over claimed irregularities.

The business collapsed with debts running into millions of pounds. In spite of Swan's claims that, through the Bulldog/AEW combination, he would replace Unipart as the UK's largest automotive parts supplier, by December 2001 many of the AEW branches were sold off, and Mill Auto Supplies acquired Bulldog's head office in Camborne, Cornwall.

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