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Audit Commission coughs to Iceland investments

Blush much at economic watchdog?

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The Audit Commission - the "independent watchdog, driving economy, efficiency and effectiveness in local public services" - has admitted to depositing £10m in Icelandic banks this year.

The Commission made two deposits - one of £5m in Landsbanki Islands in April 2008 and another £5m in July in Heritable Bank.

Several local authorities have been caught out by the freezing of Icelandic assets - 13 have asked for central government help in getting their cash back. Over 100 other public bodies and charities have admitted to potentially losing money. Oxford University said today it could lose as much as £30m.

Individual savers in the UK, of which there are 300,000, have been told they will get their money back eventually.

This is rather embarrassing for the organisation which is meant to be in charge of checking up on local authority spending and guaranteeing that taxpayers get value for money.

The Commission has been staying out of the debate over local authority investments, saying that it only looks at spending retrospectively - and now we know why. ®

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