Marketspreads Former Owners to Answer Some Questions

Undisclosed trades discovered in betting firm accounts

As the accounts filed by the spread betting company Marketspreads showed that former directors and executives were engaged in undisclosed trades, the current management is still trying to get the Irish Central Bank to let them return to normality.

The returns for the nine months ended December 21, 2009 or immediately before the current owners took over the business, re-state revenues, profits, and assets. In the directors' report that accompanied the accounts it is stated that 'certain former directors and executives of the company had been engaged in significant and previously undisclosed trading activities with the firm'.

The irregularities discovered by the current directors, who were not involved with the business during the period covered by the accounts dating back to the 12 month period up to March 31, 2009 meant that the directors had to re-state at Euro 6.3 million, Euro 1.7 million short of the Euro 8 million figure originally reported. That is why the auditors Ernst & Young could not give an opinion on the financial statements.

Late last month former Marketspreads chief executive Brian O'Neill and his colleague Fergus Rice agreed to judgments against them in the Irish High Court for Euro 1.68 million. In December 2009 they led a buyout of MarketSpreads from its original parent, Worldspreads plc.

"They left MarketSpreads midway through last year after the board discovered that they had diverted Euro 1.4 million from the company to another business in which they were involved. The judgement included the principal sum and interest," it has been noted in the media.

In the meantime, the current CEO at Marketspreads, John McNicholl, has informed the clients he is hopeful that the Central Bank will allow the firm to resume operations within weeks.

Also recently, Marketspreads initiated legal action against Worldspreads for misrepresentation and breach of warranty. Unfortunately, Worldspreads is currently in administration after a shortfall in client funds of GBP 15 million was uncovered.

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