Eight years after the crash and burn of the supposed “phoenix” of British car manufacture MG Rover, with debts of over £1.4 billion and the loss of over 6,000 jobs, the settling of accounts finally occurs. The accountancy firm Deloitte has been fined a record £1.4 million, with the Financial Reporting Council severely reprimanding Deloitte for conflict of interest in managing the advice it gave to the company.
The FRC says, “The public must be protected from misconduct of this nature•Deloitte showed no signs of co-operation, confession or contrition.” The fine of £1.4 million is peanuts in the scale of the money involved.
The public is only “protected” until the next scandal in the financial sector. The original Phoenix Four directors, who “bought” MG Rover for £10 and then proceeded through a series of complicated loans and deals with BMW worth over £500 million, all apparently legal and above board, netted an estimated £40 million in personal pensions and benefits. Unlike Deloitte they were long ago exonerated from any wrongdoing, only following the rules of capitalism.
The final carcass of MG Rover and Phoenix Venture Holdings saw the intellectual rights and technology sold off to the Chinese and the death of Rover car manufacture after 100 years. ■