FRC files complaint against Torex accountant

The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has lodged a complaint action against Mark Woodbridge, former group financial accountant at Torex Retail, alleging that he failed to adhere to professional standards and has brought the profession into disrepute by his actions at the software company which collapsed in 2007

After a lengthy investigation, the regulator’s executive counsel has delivered a disciplinary formal complaint in connection with Woodbridge’s conduct at the company which was found to have manipulated its accounts to show healthy trading.

The complaint alleges that his conduct of fell significantly short of the standards reasonably expected of a member and has brought discredit to him and to the accountancy profession in that he has been convicted by Oxford Crown Court of the criminal offences of false accounting and conspiracy to defraud.

Following an investigation by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) Woodbridge, who was a member of ACCA at the time, was found to have defrauded the shareholders of the company between May and August 2006 by falsely inflating by £6.5m the cash at bank/revenue figures of the company's interim results which were published on 14 August 2006.

Two other Torex executives, Christopher Moore and Robert Loosemore, faced similar charges.

When the case went to court, Woodbridge was given a jail sentence of three years and 10 months, disqualified from acting as a company director for three years and ordered to pay costs of £170,000 within 12 months.

The FRC said an independent disciplinary tribunal will be appointed to hear the formal complaint against Woodbridge. In July 2014, the regulator said it was closing an investigation into Christopher Moore, the former chairman and chief executive of Torex and a former ACCA member which it had begun six months earlier.

Saying the case against Moore was now closed, the FRC cited ‘insufficient evidence of misconduct during the period in which Moore was a Member and therefore subject to the FRC Accountancy Scheme to give a realistic prospect that a Tribunal would make an adverse finding against Mr Moore.’

Pat Sweet |Reporter, Accountancy Daily [2010-2021]

Pat Sweet was the former online reporter at Accountancy Daily and contributor to the monthly Accountancy magazine, pub...

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