True, the inspectors found no evidence of a concert party. But they did say that the relationship between Mr Abell and Michael Somerset-Leeke, then a stockbroker, 'was similar to that which the legislation relating to concert parties seeks to prohibit'. They proposed changes in the law to cover cases where two people are dealing together so one of them can acquire shares in a target later. This suggestion should be adopted by Neil Hamilton's company law review.
The report provides good reason for saying Mr Abell should no longer run a public company. The most damning fact is that he bought shares in Metal Closures for himself 20 minutes before he bought further shares in the company for Suter. He compounded his misdemeanour by giving contradictory statements to the inspectors that were not only inconsistent with each other but with an affidavit he had given earlier.
It is, however, a pity that it took the inspectors so long to produce their report even if much of the delay was due to secretive Swiss banks. During the four and a half years since the inspectors were appointed much damage has been done. Companies with which Suter was once compared have surged ahead. The only way forward for Suter now is for Mr Abell to step down.
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