Pompey to be probed by fraud specialist

PROBE Nick Oliver
PROBE Nick Oliver
Picture: Malcolm Wells

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A LAWYER who specialises in forensic and fraud-related insolvency issues has joined the investigation into what went wrong at Portsmouth Football Club.

Nick Oliver, from Norwich law firm Howes Percival, has been appointed by accountants Baker Tilly to look into the dealings of Pompey’s former directors before the club went into administration.

Legal firms are appointed by liquidators as standard practice to investigate the actions of the board prior to administration.

The News understands a number of allegations have been made to the liquidators against former directors, accusing them of continuing to trade for months while the club could not pay its bills.

It will be Mr Oliver’s job to investigate those allegations – and potentially hand a file to the government’s Official Receivers’ Office for legal proceedings to begin.

The investigation will focus on board members from the time when Sacha Gaydamak owned the club to the day it was placed in administration in February 2010.

Mr Oliver said: ‘This is a high-profile, complex case which has received worldwide media attention, primarily because Portsmouth was the first Premiership football club to enter administration.

‘The unsecured creditors are believed to amount to in excess of £83m, with up to £35m owed to HM Revenue & Customs.

‘We will be assisting Geoff Carton-Kelly and David Hudson with their investigations into the financial collapse of the club.

‘The liquidators have identified significant issues that require detailed investigation.’

Mr Oliver is also assisting in the case of former Polly Peck chief executive Asil Nadir, who is accused of false accounting and theft.