Grant Thornton (GT) has been give leave by the UK Court of Appeal to appeal against certain aspects of the judgement handed down by Mr. Justice Bryan in January this year in favour of AssetCo, a company which is principally involved in the provision of management and resources to the fire and emergency services in the Middle East. A date for the appeal will be fixed in the coming weeks but is unlikely to be before October 2019 at the earliest.
GT had been ordered to pay into Court a sum of £22.4m ($28.5m) , plus interest of approximately £6m ($7.6m) plus £5m ($6.4m). AssetCo was also awarded its costs of the action to be assessed by the Court if not agreed.
In April 2017 Grant Thornton UK LLP and Robert Napper (a retired GT Partner) had admitted misconduct and agreed to fines and other sanctions from the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) following an investigation relating to the audits of the financial statements of AIM-listed AssetCo for the financial years ended 31 March 2009 and 31 March 2010. GT was the statutory audit firm, and Napper the Audit Engagement Partner.
The FRC fined GT £2.275m ($2.89m) and Napper £130,000 ($165,000). The firm also received a severe reprimand and Napper was excluded from membership of the ICAEW for three years.
In 2012 AssetCo was required to make prior period adjustments that saw its balance sheet take a £235m ($298.7m) hit. The firm subsequently launched a negligence claim against GT.
Three former executives of AssetCo were sanctioned by the FRC in 2018. John Shannon (former Chief Executive Officer) was excluded for 16 years, Raymond “Frank” Flynn (former Chief Financial Officer) for 14 years and Matthew Boyle (former Financial Controller) for 12 years. Additionally, fines of £250,000 ($318,000), £150,000 ($101,000) and £100,000 ($127,000) respectively were imposed.