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Last Updated: Monday, 4 June 2007, 15:42 GMT 16:42 UK
Probe into Farepak's accountants
Closed gates at Farepak depot
Some people lost as much as 2,000 when Farepak collapsed
Regulators have opened an inquiry into the conduct of individual accountants involved in last year's collapse of Christmas savings firm Farepak.

The Accountancy Investigation and Discipline Board (AIDB) said it would study those involved in the preparation of Farepak's accounts to 30 April 2005.

It will also scrutinise conduct "in relation to the circumstances leading up to" Farepak's October collapse.

The accountancy regulator said the move was in the public interest.

Farepak left an estimated 150,000 savers about 40m out of pocket when it went into administration.

Administrators BDO Stoy Hayward estimate that savers will only get back 4p or 5p for every 1 they gave to the firm.

Individuals not firms

The AIDB said its investigation would also include those accountants who worked for Farepak's parent firm, European Home Retail.

It stressed that individual accountants were under investigation, rather than any accountancy companies.

An AIDB spokeswoman said it could neither confirm nor deny whether any members of accountancy giant Ernst & Young were under investigation.

Ernst & Young audited Farepak's accounts for the year to 30 April 2005.

"Ernst & Young can confirm that neither the firm nor members of the firm have had any communication from the AIDB on this matter," it said in a statement.

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