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Directors respond to SFO investigation

MG Rover directors have released a statement slamming the government for launching a Serious Fraud Office investigation looking into the collapse of the failed firm.

Business secretary Lord Mandelson ordered the investigation after receiving the four year, £16 million report into the collapse of MG Rover.

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A statement from the MG Rover directors said: “The announcement is mystifying given that at no stage during the last four years of the government inspectors’ investigation has there been any suggestion of fraud or criminal activity of any kind.

“Both the National Audit Office and the MG Rover administrators, PWC, carried out thorough investigations into the company’s affairs and concluded there was no evidence whatsoever of any wrongdoing.

“Lawyers advising the directors who have sat through all of the interviews and read every scrap of evidence have confirmed there has never been any suggestion of fraud during the investigation. At all times, the directors have willingly and openly accounted for their actions.”

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The statement went on to criticise the role of government in MG Rover’s collapse and questioned whether the investigations would be a further waste of taxpayer’s money.

They also criticised the government for allegedly withdrawing a loan to the firm at the 11th hour which could have sealed a deal with a Chinese manufacturer and prevented the loss of 6000 jobs.

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The statement said: “People, particularly in the West Midlands, want to know why the government withdrew its offer of a loan to company at the 11th hour which would have helped secure a deal with Chinese carmakers and gone a long way to saving MG Rover.

“If the government has been so concerned to get to the heart of the matter why has it flatly refused more than 30 requests under the Freedom of Information Act which would have revealed correspondence and documents that would have shed some light on the government’s role in the affair.”

Speaking before the MG Rover director’s statement was released, Lord Mandelson said: “There has been a comprehensive and thorough investigation into the events which led to the company failing, workers losing their jobs and creditors not getting paid. The SFO must now see if there are grounds for prosecution.”

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Mark Tisshaw

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