Three accountants involved in the £1.5bn collapse of British & Commonwealth after it bought Atlantic Computers have been struck off from membership of the English ICA. John Tompkins, Nicholas Kennedy Scott and Sien Yin Cheng Kai On were all found guilty by a Joint Disciplinary Scheme tribunal of allowing misleading statements to appear concerning the size of Altantic's £160,000 liability. Tompkins has been excluded with a recommendation that no application be made for his readmission for a minimum of three years. Kennedy Scott has been excluded from membership with no application for at least eight years while Cheng has been suspended for two years. British & Commonwealth, the company that bought leasing company Atlantic in 1989, failed with debts of £1.5bn in 1990. A DTI report showed creative accounting presented the company as a success story. Tompkins was group finance director and then chief executive of Atlantic. The report concluded: 'He allowed statements which he knew to be misleading to appear in the prospectus for Atlantic's 1983 flotation on the Stock Exchange. He bore considerable responsibility both for Atlantic's unsound accounting policies and for allowing Atlantic's accounts to give a misleading picture.' Kennedy Scott succeeded Tompkins as group finance director and was also a director of British and Commonwealth Holdings. The report stated 'he approved Atlantic's 1988 accounts which were, to his knowledge, grossly misleading'. Cheng was Atlantic company secretary and finally group finance director, and she was found responsible for Atlantic's unsound accounting policies. An earlier review of the work of Spicer & Oppenheim, now part of Deloitte & Touche which audited Atlantic, upheld allegations that the firm had failed to question liabilities in the accounts and it was ordered to pay costs of £100,000.
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