Former senior management of Azlan could face up to seven years loss. imprisonment, following an investigation launched by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) for suspected offences of false accounting.
The networking distributor stated the investigation will be concerned with the year ended 5 April 1997, when CEO Christian Martin, group financial director Adrian Lamb, MD James Maunder and non-executive chairman Mike Brooke were among those employed at the company. The company predicted a #15 million profit, which became a loss of #14.1 million.
Azlan had been in informal talks with the DTI - as revealed in a document distributed to shareholders in October 1997 - which also included the results of an investigation undertaken by auditors KPMG.
Kevin Ross, detective sergeant of the fraud squad division at the North Yorkshire Police - working in conjunction with the SFO - admitted he visited Azlan on 16 April and had a 'very successful meeting'.
Ross stated: 'There is admission from Azlan that there has been a criminal act by individuals and it is our job to establish what went on.'
Ross claimed the investigation centres around offences which come under Section 47 of the Financial Services Act 1986 and Section 17 of the Theft Act 1968. The Theft Act includes two offences, which are 'punishable on conviction, with seven years imprisonment'.
Barrie Morgans, chairman and CEO of Azlan, said: 'The SFO is looking to establish any event highlighted in the forensic document that was potentially fraudulent.'
Adrian Lamb, former group finance director of Azlan, stated he had not been approached by Azlan or the SFO, but said: 'If anyone had committed an act of fraud and were not under a director, then they would take responsibility.'
See news investigation, page 4.
EXCERPTS OF THEFT ACT/SERVICES ACT
Example of Section 17, Theft Act 1968
1) It is an offence to destroy, deface, conceal or falsify any account or any record, or document made or required for any accounting purpose.
2) A person is to be regarded as falsifying an account or other document if he: makes or concurs in making in it an entry which is, or may be, misleading, false or deceptive in a material particular, or may be misleading, false or deceptive in a material particular.
Example of Financial Services Act 1986
Any person who makes a statement, promise of forecast which he knows to be misleading, false or deceptive or dishonesty conceals any material facts.
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