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Worthington homes raided by fraud squad

Dawn raids on homes belonging to Mark Worthington and his father Peter have been carried out by the Serious Fraud Office.
Documents and computers were removed from homes belonging to the sacked chief executive of air-conditioning firm Worthington Nicholls and the founder of the group.

The SFO and Cheshire police raided the properties based in Poynton, Cheshire last week as part of on-going investigations into Worthington Nicholl's accounts up to November 2007, when Simon Beart took over the group.

Worthington Nicholls changed its name to Managed Support Services in April 2008. The group's new board has made write-offs totalling £15.9m and uncovered accounting irregularities following the departure of chief executive Mark Worthington in October 2007.

Worthington Nicholls floated on the stock market in June 2007 and raised £20m from investors a few weeks after its shares peaked at 195p in April 2007.

As part of that transaction, Mark Worthington sold 2m shares in the company at 170p each. But, later in June, Worthington Nicholls reported an interim loss.This was followed by a profit warning and a plummeting share price.

The new board say the group lost nearly £9m in the second half of 2007.
24 June 2008

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