Former TransTec directors face charges of lying to auditors

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The Independent Online

Criminal charges have been brought against the former chief executive and the ex-finance director of TransTec, the engineering company founded by the MP Geoffrey Robinson.

Richard Carr, 51, who was the chief executive, and William Jeffrey, aged 48, were charged at Solihull magistrates' court yesterday with offences under the Theft Act and the Companies Act. The charges relate to alleged false statements made by them and to allegedly misleading the company's auditors. If found guilty, both men could be jailed.

TransTec, which was listed on the London stock market, was mainly a supplier of components to the automotive industry and was forced into receivership at the end of 1999. It was founded in May 1991 by Mr Robinson.

Mr Jeffrey joined Transtec in 1992 as financial controller. He was elevated to the main board as finance director in 1995, a post he held until 1998 when he departed to run a TransTec business in Australia.

Mr Robinson had been the chairman and chief executive of TransTec from its establishment until November 1994, when Richard Carr became the chief executive. Mr Carr, a chartered accountant, had previously worked for SG Warburg, the investment bank. TransTec expanded significantly and had an annual turnover of £300m.

Mr Robinson remained the non-executive chairman until May 1997, when he took up a position in the Government. There is no suggestion of wrong-doing by Mr Robinson, who was not part of the investigation by the Serious Fraud Office that led to the charges.

TransTec collapsed after the discovery of an £11m compensation payment that was secretly paid to a customer, Ford, for failure to fulfil a contract. The claim was formally made by Ford in April 1996 but it was not subsequently disclosed in the company's accounts. The charges relate to accounts that span 1996 to 1999.