Former TransTech directors banned from boardroom

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The Independent Online

Eight former directors of TransTec, the defunct engineering business founded by the former paymaster general Sir Geoffrey Robinson, have been banned from sitting on the board of a company for a combined total of 42 years, the Insolvency Service said yesterday.

Seven of the directors, including Bill Jeffrey, the finance director who received a suspended jail sentence for his criminal involvement in the company's collapse, settled out of court with the regulator, accepting bans of between three and nine years.

TransTec's former chief executive Richard Carr - who was acquitted of criminal charges - lost his battle with the Insolvency Service, consequently receiving an even longer ban from the City of nine years and six months.

Sir Geoffrey, a former chairman of TransTec, had stepped down from the company by the time the frauds occurred.

The rulings bring the curtain down on a seven-year investigation into TransTec, which began when the company collapsed in 1999. The demise of the business came about after it became unable to complete a large contract for the Ford Motor Company in the mid-1990s, and was forced to pay compensation of $18m (£9.5m). Mr Jeffrey concealed the payments within the accounts, and withheld the information from the rest of the board, and from investors.

Publishing its final rulings yesterday, the Insolvency Service, which carries out corporate investigations on behalf of the DTI, said all the directors were at fault for failing to spot what was going on. "Eight directors intentionally produced and signed off misleading or false accounts ... [and] consistently failed to declare a settlement worth millions of pounds in the company's accounts," a statement said.

"As well as the lies, deception and cover-up, [our] investigation revealed that TransTec's directors had deliberately concealed the company's true financial position; bad management by top executives who were unsuited to their roles in an engineering firm and a board of directors who failed to grasp what was happening and change the management."