Accountancy Age to fight gag order

By Alyson Fixter

A leading financial magazine is to challenge a High Court injunction
that has gagged the title over a story about an investigation into top
accountancy firm, Deloitte and Touche.

Accountancy Age was due to reveal the results of a long-term probe
into Deloitte carried out by the accountancy watchdog, the Joint
Disciplinary Scheme (JDS), in last week’s issue, but was prevented from
carrying the story by the last-minute action.

Both Accountancy Age and the JDS will challenge the interim injunction in court in a bid to prevent it becoming permanent.

It
is believed the JDS was due to reveal it had decided to lay a complaint
against Deloitte in relation to its management of the audit of casino
operator Capital Corporation in the 1990s.

Accountancy Age editor DamianWild described the injunction as “unprecedented”.

He said it could have implications for financial reporting in the future if it was allowed to stand.

He added: “We are taking this action because we believe there are important issues at stake.”

In
a special front-page story run in this week’s Accountancy Age, he said:
“The magazine has found itself at the centre of a media furore over an
injunction obtained by Deloitte preventing publication by us, or by the
JDS, of information about its ongoing investigation into its handling
of information connected with the inquiry into Deloitte’s audit of
casino group, Capital Corporation.

“We had expected to tell you about the information in our edition of last Thursday.

“However,
because of the injunction we know the details but we cannot tell you
what they are. “We will bring you further details if and when we are
able to do so.”

In a statement, Deloitte said it had “obtained a
temporary injunction to uphold its rights under the Joint Disciplinary
Scheme rules”, but would not comment further.

The Capital Corporation case has been followed by VNU publication Accountancy Age since the investigation was launched in 1998.

According
to The Times , the investigation centres on Deloitte’s decision to
issue a clean bill of health on London casino operator Capital
Corporation’s financial results in 1996, despite the highly critical
nature of a number of independent reports into the company.

The
accountancy industry currently polices itself by means of the JDS, but
if a major firm is able to block public access to JDS findings, it is
claimed this could undermine faith in selfregulation.

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