DTI denies Boo probe

Incompetence is no crime

The DTI has denied allegations that it is to rake failed e-tailer Boo.com over the coals.

The Department of Trade and Industry has taken the rare step of denying a report on thisismoney.com, which stated that the failure of the sportswear e-tailer was to be probed by the government office.

The article first appeared in the Financial Mail on Sunday on 18 June. Thisismoney, the Mail's online newservice, ran with the story which claimed: "Accountancy group KMPG, which acted as receiver for boo.com, is believed to have already submitted a detailed report on the collapse to the DTI.

"The probe is likely to be conducted under Section 447 of the Companies Act, which allows the DTI confidentially to investigate the affairs of a company and report back, to recommend a full inquiry or propose sanctions such as banning of directors."

However, the DTI and KPMG both say that's bunkum - the only reports submitted have been "standard procedure", and KPMG is still acting as provisional liquidator. What's more, section 447 can only be undertaken if a company is "live", with the intention of shutting it down if something is amiss, according to the DTI.

The story, which said there was no suggestion that any directors would face a criminal investigation, had today been removed from the thisismoney.com site.

A court hearing for Boo will take place on 28 June, where the official receiver - KPMG is likely to keep the job - will be appointed. ®

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