Musicians miss out as radio royalty money goes missing from accounts

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The Independent Culture

Robbie Williams and dozens of other pop stars have been left £700,000 out of pocket after money went missing from the firm which pays their royalties, it emerged yesterday.

Robbie Williams and dozens of other pop stars have been left £700,000 out of pocket after money went missing from the firm which pays their royalties, it emerged yesterday.

The Association of United Recording Artists (Aura) has sacked director Peter Horrey after discovering "significant financial irregularities" in the company accounts. Aura has obtained a High Court injunction freezing Mr Horrey's assets and an investigation is underway.

Robbie Williams, Blur, Travis and Tom Jones are among the artists who receive royalties from radio airplay through Aura. Aura is responsible for collecting and distributing £2m a year in royalties to recording artists and producers.

Chairman Stephen King said at least £700,000 had been "misappropriated". The irregularities were discovered during an audit taken earlier in the year at the west London-based company. Mr Horrey has been sacked for gross misconduct and has not contested the High Court injunction, Mr King said.

"We do not yet have a final figure for the money that has gone missing. We have called in specialist auditors to search through our accounts back to 1999, but £700,000 is our estimate so far," he said.

"We have written to all our members informing them of the situation and they have been supportive."

Mr Horrey, from Stansted, Essex, was Aura's membership secretary and its only full-time employee. He played a key part in building up the organisation after musicians gained the right, under European law, to be paid for radio airplay.

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