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Lord Mandelson seeks to ground Phoenix Four

Business secretary Lord Mandelson is looking to ban ex-MG Rover directors from serving as company directors in the future following a report into the company’s closure which will be published on September 11.

The 850-page report, which took four years to compile at a cost of £16 million in taxpayer’s money, is believed to include damning details about how the manufacturer’s demise was handled.

Mandelson has arranged for Government lawyers to compile evidence against John Towers, Nick Stephenson, Peter Beale and John Edwards, the directors known as the Phoenix Four, to stop them becoming directors at any other company, despite the fact that no evidence was found to suggest wrongdoing during the closure of the business in 2005.

The Serious Fraud Office was appointed to expose any illegal activity during MG Rover’s demise, but announced earlier this week that there was no evidence to support a criminal investigation and made no further comment.

Accountancy firm Deloitte, the former auditor to MG Rover, is also expected to feature heavily in a soon-to-be published and damning report.

Although the Phoenix Four are under the spotlight, Deloitte are expected to be subject to scrutiny after a Guardian review of Rover-related accounts for years between 2000 and 2003 show it received £1.9m for its role as auditor to the carmaker and linked companies.

Among the key figures in Deloitte's relationship with Rover was mergers and acquisitions partner Maghsoud Einollahi, who retired from the UK firm last year.

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