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Too long, too costly, says Byers.

Speaking after the publication of the report, Byers said: ‘This inspection has taken nearly nine years to complete and has so far cost #8.5m. I don’t regard this as an acceptable state of affairs.’

Byers has established an internal review of the Companies Act 1985 looking at the way section 432 and 442 inspections are carried out.

He has asked the company law review committee to look at the issues raised by the report and make recommendations. Byers said: ‘We must be vigilant to ensure our system of corporate governance is open and transparent and is not abused.

For full coverage of the Maxwell affair, visit

See opinion, page 16.

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