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Insolvency Service ends pursuit of former Comet owners

THE GOVERNMENT has ended its pursuit of the former owners of Comet over the retailer’s collapse in 2012, which left 7,000 workers redundant and cost the taxpayer £70m.

An investigation by the Insolvency Service into the circumstances surrounding the company’s collapse failed to uncover sufficient evidence to prosecute the electrical retailer’s former owners.

Details of the insolvency will also remain secret, Anna Soubry, the minister for small businesses and the Insolvency Service, confirmed.

“The Insolvency Service has concluded its confidential fact-finding inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the insolvency of Comet Group,” Soubry said. “Publication of the evidence gathered during the inquiry into the company is prohibited by law, and as the report of the inquiry contains such evidence it also cannot be published.”

“However, I can confirm that, after careful consideration of the facts obtained in this investigation, it has been decided that there is insufficient evidence to warrant enforcement action.”

Last year, the then business secretary Vince Cable referred three senior Deloitte insolvency practitioners to the ICAEW over reports there was a conflict of interest when they accepted the role of administrators, given that they had previously advised the company. Deloitte has disputed that there is a conflict of interest.

The ICAEW investigation is still ongoing.

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