Les Rosenthal, group trading director, and Chris Miles, UK commercial director, were yesterday suspended from the business pending the completion of the investigation being undertaken by Price Waterhouse.
They will continue to co-operate fully with the investigation. However, the company said the pair would "have no further dealings with suppliers customers or staff".
It is understood that the problems could stretch back three or four years with the possible over-statement of profits amounting to pounds 15m-pounds 20m. It is unlikely the company will be to announce a more precise figure for at least a week to enable the shares to resume trading. They were suspended at 69p.
Henry Sweetbaum, the former chairman who resigned this week, is understood to have retained City law firm Herbert Smith to act on his behalf, though this was not confirmed. It is possible he could claim compensation for loss of office as his contract was not due to expire until November 1997.