Stoy Hayward set for Astra inquiry

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The Independent Online
STOY HAYWARD, the accountancy firm, faces investigation over its role in the collapse of Astra, the munitions company involved in the Iraqi Supergun scandal, and a likely inquiry into its part in the failure of Asil Nadir's Polly Peck.

The inquiries were expected to be announced yesterday by the Joint Disciplinary Scheme, which represents the main accountancy bodies in Britain and investigates serious complaints against members. However, the JDS said there would be a delay while it considered 'representations' about the Polly Peck investigation.

The Department of Trade and Industry last year produced a report criticising the way Astra was run and advised.

Stoy Hayward, unhappy with the way the English institute has handled the Polly Peck case, said while it had had lengthy discussions about the affair it had not made the latest representations.

The move comes just days after the JDS was dealt a blow by a House of Lords ruling that its investigation of Price Waterhouse's role in the collapse of Bank of Credit and Commerce International would have to wait until a civil action brought by the bank's liquidators, Touche Ross, had been completed.

The decision, which makes a JDS inquiry unlikely before the end of the decade, is based on the finding that the BCCI case is exceptional.

Brian Harris, secretary to the JDS's executive committee, has warned that accountants should not be misled into thinking that any disciplinary proceedings would be halted on the filing of a writ.