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Investigation is a ‘witch hunt’

An investigation into MG Rover’s accountant, Deloitte, for its conduct in the lead-up to the carmaker’s collapse has been blasted a “waste of money” by the chairman of the franchise’s dealer council.

Richard Cort says the “witch-hunt” of MG Rover directors and its accountants is nothing more than “pandering to the public”.

He adds: “What is it going to achieve? Will it get more money back for the dealers? No, this is a complete waste of money.

“If they had spent as much time on helping ailing companies affected by the MG Rover situation as trying to blame people, they would do a lot better.”

MG Rover went down in April with debts of more than £1.4bn, of which at least £48m is owed to its UK dealer network for outstanding bonus payments.

Its acquisition by Chinese motor manufacturer Nanjing Automotive last month for a reported £53m is unlikely to result in full payment for creditors.

Cort was due to meet Nanjing representatives in the UK on Wednesday to discuss this and the future of the dealer network.

The Accountancy Investigation and Discipline Board’s (AIDB) inquiry will focus on advice Deloitte gave Rover and its 2003 set of results. This will run alongside another investigation already under way by the Department of Trade and Industry, which was launched on the request of another accounting watchdog, the Financial Reporting Council.

In a statement, Deloitte says it will co-operate fully with the AIDB’s probe. It adds: “We are confident that we will demonstrate that our work was carried out to the highest professional standards.”

Many figures in Government and the automotive industry were surprised by the speed at which MG Rover went into administration following the failure of its partnership plans with Chinese carmaker Shanghai Automotive.

Until that point, MG Rover’s management had repeatedly insisted the company’s outlook was healthy.

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