Carillion directors to be investigated

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Media captionThe Carillion collapse: What does it mean?

The government has ordered a fast-track investigation into directors at the failed construction firm Carillion.

The UK’s second biggest construction firm went into liquidation on Monday, after running up losses on contracts and struggling with heavy debts.

The Business Secretary has asked for an investigation by the Official Receiver to be broadened and fast-tracked.

The conduct of directors in charge at the time of company’s failure and previous directors will be examined.

“It is important we quickly get the full picture of the events which caused Carillion to enter liquidation,” said Business Secretary, Greg Clark, in a statement.

“Any evidence of misconduct will be taken very seriously,” he said.

The role of Carillion’s auditor KPMG will be examined by the Financial Reporting Council.

Chief executive Richard Howson stepped down in July of last year after a profit warning. He had been in charge since the end of 2011.

Keith Cochrane was appointed as interim chief executive.

There has been much criticism over the size of Mr Howson’s pay award in 2016 which, including bonuses, totalled £1.5m. He is also due to receive a salary until October of the this year.

Under his leadership Carillion was hit by cost overruns on big projects, problems with contracts in the Middle East and a large deficit in its pension schemes.

In particular three building projects in the UK had resulted in hefty losses:

  • The £350m Midland Metropolitan Hospital in Sandwell: opening delayed to 2019 due to construction problems
  • The £335m Royal Liverpool Hospital: completion date repeatedly pushed back amid reports of cracks in the building
  • The £745m Aberdeen bypass: delayed because of slow progress in completing initial earthworks

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