Rover Report: No Fraud

The Telegraph reports that the report into the demise of MG Rover will highlight “questionable” business practices by the Phoenix Four but contains no “smoking gun” on the conduct of the Government.

The report will be published this Friday after the Serious Fraud Office decided not to pursue a fraud investigation into the demise of the Midlands car maker in 2005.

According to sources who have seen the document, it makes uncomfortable reading for the Government – especially over what happened to a £100m bridging loan designed to rescue MG Rover – but suggests that Labour did try to save the car maker and there was no deliberate plan to pull the plug on the business.

The report, which has cost the taxpayer £16m and has taken four years to compile, contains numerous details of complex financial transactions.

However, the SFO has deemed there is no evidence of fraud after analysing the 850 pages and two volumes which make up the report.

Nonetheless, Lord Mandelson, the Business Secretary, is believed to be consulting lawyers about potentially barring the Phoenix Four – John Towers, Nick Stephenson, Peter Beale and John Edwards – who bought MG Rover in 2000, from being company directors.

“I think what people will be asking themselves in the light of this report is whether they, as individuals, are fit to conduct themselves as directors of companies in the future,” Lord Mandelson said.