Three former directors at the technology group iSoft were yesterday cleared of defrauding the company’s investors.
The former chief executive Tim Whiston, finance director John Whelan and chief operating officer Steve Graham had been accused of plotting to create “huge discrepancies” in iSoft’s accounts between October 2003 and July 2006.
Former iSoft chairman Patrick Cryne was also charged but did not stand trial due to ill health. The case against him has also been dropped.
The trial against the three directors ended in a hung jury last August, and the case was thrown out following a retrial at Southwark Crown Court earlier this month. Formal not guilty verdicts were recorded yesterday and the defendants were also awarded an order for their defence costs to be paid, which is likely to run to millions of pounds.
The City regulator, which had spearheaded the action against the men, said the outcome was “disappointing” but that it “would not be in the public interest for a second retrial to be pursued”.
Martin Wheatley, the chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority, said: “This decision not to seek a second retrial does not undermine our determination to bring and prosecute difficult cases. The FCA will continue to use our enforcement powers as one of the ways that we bring about a change in the culture of firms that operate in the UK markets.”
iSoft specialises in IT which is used across the healthcare industry.
Anthony Barnfather, a partner at the law firm Pannone, who represented Mr Whelan, said: “John has spent the last seven years with these allegations hanging over him, causing immense stress and anxiety. He has been unable to work, has suffered great financial loss, and his reputation left in tatters. He has also had to endure two four-month trials.
“John has always strenuously denied the allegations and is delighted he can now finally begin to rebuild his life. This is the second time the jury has been discharged in this case, which has cost the public purse millions of pounds. We are delighted the prosecution has at last discontinued the matter.”