Regulator’s case against three former iSoft company directors over ‘fairytale’ financial results looks set to go to a retrial
Three ex-company directors accused of helping the owner of Barnsley football club make millions by concocting “fairytale” financial results for software firm iSoft are facing a retrial after a jury failed to return a verdict on Wednesday.
Timothy Whiston, John Whelan and Stephen Graham were accused of plotting with Patrick Cryne, iSoft’s former chairman and owner of Barnsley FC, to create “huge discrepancies” in the company’s accounts to mislead investors.
The jury at Southwark crown court were sent home after failing to reach a verdict after 57 hours and 41 minutes of deliberations. The Financial Services Authority (FSA), the City regulator which brought the case following an investigation by the Guardian, has a month to decide whether to bring a retrial.
The three accused – Whiston, 44, iSoft’s chief executive; Graham, 48, the former chief operating officer; and Whelan, 45, the former finance director – were facing a maximum of seven years in prison if found guilty of making false and misleading statements contrary to the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 and the Criminal Law Act 1977.
Cryne has been charged with the same offences and will stand trial later this year due to ill health.
They are accused of putting revenue on the company’s books from a €54.3m (£44m) deal to provide a new computer system to the Irish health service in 2003 even though the contract was not signed until April 2005.
The four-month long trial, which has cost the taxpayer millions, featured former trade minister Lord Digby Jones. Jones, a former non-executive director of iSoft, accused the men of a “prolonged deceit”. All the men deny the charges.
Last year iSoft was taken over by Computer Sciences Corporation, a US company accused of helping to organise covert US government flights of terror suspects to Guantánamo Bay and other clandestine “black sites” around the world.