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Vantis in its death throes? – edited version

June 14th, 2010

A firm of accountants which last year was found guilty of enabling celebrities, sportsmen and other wealthy clients to evade £219 million in tax, and whose partner Simon Glyn was personal assistant to the bank manager at the epicentre of the Bank of Scotland Reading scandal, an alleged £1bn money laundering fraud, appears to be on the verge of bankruptcy.

We all know how useless self-regulatory bodies including the ICAEW have generally been in rooting out wrongdoing in the accountancy profession, so it’s vaguely reassuring that the market appears to be filling the vacuum and, perhaps, doing its work for them.

Vantis today admitted it may struggle to continue as a going concern because it is so cash-strapped. In an RNS statement, the Vantis board said: “it can no longer be certain that [Vantis] will continue to have sufficient funding to enable it to continue to trade on a going concern basis.” Under stock exchange rules, the Aim-listed firm had its shares suspended by the stock market authorities this morning.

The statement said chief executive Paul Jackson resigned on Saturday June 12th and that finance director Steve Smith would assume all executive duties until a new chief executive can be identified.

Earlier this month, Vantis declared it was in talks with banks RBS, Lloyds Banking Group and Barclays about a restructuring. It is struggling to get paid for work it has done on the Allen Stanford liquidation, from which an Antiguan court last week asked it to be removed as liquidator. Vantis director Nigel Hamilton-Smith, who was liquidator on that case, also resigned with Jackson.

The loss-making firm has been scrabbling around for ways of slashing its £50m debt pile, including selling off chunks of its business, and has also been in urgent talks with potential new equity investors and existing debt providers. Its shares were suspended at 10.25p. Vantis, still valued at £6.4 million, has shed 90% of its value in the past year.

Short URL: https://www.ianfraser.org/?p=1297

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8 Comments for “Vantis in its death throes? – edited version”

  1. ‘Time wounds all heels’.

    JS Ace.

  2. I used to work for one of the predecessor firms, and I am not in the least bit surprised that things are ending in tears.

  3. Ian Fraser would do well to remember the libel laws and that he understands all the facts before launching into a tirade such as this. As a question of fact, nobody, least of all Vantis, has yet been found guilty of anything in connection with the so-called fraud. Charges have been made against two former Vantis employees, but the case has not yet come to court, so all parties must be presumed to be innocent until that changes.

  4. Amassing a £54m debt pile in what can only be described as a bonanza time for business recovery specialists is impressive, to say the least.

    I wonder how the board managed such a feat?

  5. David Bowes, your apparent belief that critical articles should not be published illustrates exactly what is wrong with the media culture of this country, and why we need drastic changes to the libel laws to restore investigative journalism and freedom of speech.

  6. Thanks for that, OC! Couldn’t agree with you more.

  7. David Bowes, as I think you used to work for Vantis, you’d also be aware of the culture and the style of operating, which some might describe as, well, opportunist…..entrepreneurial even?

    These give a flavour…..

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-425559/Anfield-deal-hit-leaked-plans.html

    http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/markets/article.html?in_article_id=492387&in_page_id=3

    We will see what the court case says, in the meantime, I shall continue to celebrate the demise of a firm that (again being charitable) might be described as having Governance issues. The lack of people with a good thing to say about the firm speaks volumes about its reputation.

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