UK Kroll directors share £3m bonanza

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The Independent Online

Five UK-based directors of Kroll, the corporate investigations and recovery group, shared a $5.6m (£3.2m) bonanza between them following the takeover of the US corporate investigations group. One made $3.4m out of the deal.

Accounts just filed at Companies House show that the five directors sold thousands of share options in the US group to Marsh & McLennan Companies when it bought New York-based Kroll in July last year. Five directors of two Kroll companies in Britain had been granted options at various prices, some as low as a little over $7 a share. Marsh & McLennan paid $37 a share in the agreed takeover last year.

Simon Freakley, the UK chief who has since become chief executive of Kroll, made $3.4m after exercising his share options. Another British director, Anthony Brierley, made $701,000.

The UK business made profits before tax of just under £5.1m on turnover of £37.5m in 2004, slightly down from the previous year when it made £5.4m on a £35.7m turnover. Its highest-paid director was also paid £1.2m in salary, up from £751,000 in 2003.

Anne Tiedemann, an American director of Kroll Associates UK, made just under $1.1m. A British director, Thomas Helsby, made just over $400,000.

This company saw profits before tax rise ten-fold in 2004 to £2.4m on turnover that trebled to £52m. This operation is described as providing clients with "advice, research and investigative services".

Marsh & McLennan, the American insurance services group, bought Kroll, the world's best-known corporate investigations outfit, in a $1.9bn deal in July last year.

Kroll was identified as having been hired to investigate Manchester United's manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, by John Magnier and JP McManus, the Irish racing tycoons, in their legal dispute.