Serious Fraud Office to decide on MG Rover case
10 August 2009

The Serious Fraud Office will this week reveal whether or not it is to begin a criminal investigation into the collapse of MG Rover in 2005.

Following the collapse of MG Rover with £1.4 billion of debts in April 2005, a report into the failure was ordered by the government. It took four years to produce, at a cost to the tax payer of £16 million.

However, upon the completion of the report earlier this year, the case was referred to the police by business secretary Lord Mandelson, delaying its publication.

Conservative politicians claim Mandelson has done this to avoid the controversial findings about the government's role in the failure being made public ahead of a general election.

Even if the SFO decides not to pursue the case, either it or or Mandelson could refer the case on to another authority, potentially a police force in Birmingham or the City of London police, again delaying its publication.

Alternatively, the matter could be taken up by the Department for Business, which has powers to ban individuals from acting as directors of companies if they are found to have acted improperly.

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MG Rover's owners - known as the Phoenix Four - were John Towers, Peter Beale, John Edwards and Nick Stephenson. At the time of the company's collapse they were accused of asset-stripping MG Rover, and they are the focus of the SFO's investigation.

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