Page last updated at 18:41 GMT, Thursday, 30 April 2009 19:41 UK

Firm's 11m gem valuation forged

The Wrekin gemstone
A valuation document is a forgery, administrators say

The £11m valuation of a 2kg ruby owned by a failed construction company was based on a forged document, a creditors report seen by the BBC has said.

The "Gem of Tanzania" was thought to be worth £11m and was the key asset of Wrekin Construction in Shropshire.

Administrators Ernst & Young have said the valuation documents were forged but it is not known who by.

It said the firm, which made 500 people redundant when it went into administration in March, owed £20.7m.

The Shifnal-based company also had bases in Yorkshire, Northamptonshire and Cheshire.

'Forged document'

Its accounts had said it exchanged £11m in shares for the gemstone in 2007.

The creditors report says: "It has been confirmed that the valuation relied upon in the year ending 31st December 2007 statutory accounts of Wrekin Construction Co Ltd (WCC), purportedly issued by the Instituto Gemmologico Italiano is a forged document.

"The source of the forgery is not known. The gem had been included as an £11m current asset in WCC's balance sheet."

It adds: "At this time it is not possible to place a value on the uncut stone."

A creditors meeting is planned for 13 May.

The BBC tried to contact Wrekin Construction Co Ltd's owner and chairman David J Unwin through his lawyer but has not received a reply.

The lawyer, Derek Miller of Knight & Sons, Stoke-on-Trent, has been quoted in the past as saying Mr Unwin had worked tirelessly since buying Wrekin and was talking fully to the administrators.

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