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Ex-QMH director fined £250,000 over role in collapse

01 June 2004

Martin Marcus, the former deputy chairman of Queens Moat Houses (QMH), has been fined £250,000 and excluded from membership of the Institute of Chartered Accountants for his role in the financial scandal that rocked the hotel group in the mid-1990s.

A tribunal of the Joint Disciplinary Service, which looks at these sorts of cases, and an appeal tribunal both concluded that Marcus's conduct during the affair "amounted to dishonesty".

QMH's shares were suspended in March 1993 when its market capitalisation was found to have been inflated by more than 97%.

The shares were re-listed two years later, and its value re-adjusted from £728m to £24m and a profit of £90.4m in 1991 adjusted to a loss of £56.3m in 1993.

As a result of the scandal thousands of investors in the company lost hundreds of millions of pounds.

Marcus had been responsible for the accounts in 1991 which, said the tribunals "did not give a true and fair view", for announcements in 1991 and results in 1992 that "misled shareholders" and "for misleading bankers and analysts at a number of meetings at which he misrepresented the financial position of QMH".

Marcus had admitted the disciplinary complaints made against him but had appealed against an earlier finding of dishonesty.

This appeal has now been dismissed, effectively bringing his legal fight to an end.

The fine is thought to be the largest ever handed out to an individual by the Joint Disciplinary Service, although it is lower than the £500,000 Marcus was fined by the original disciplinary tribunal.

A Department of Trade and Industry report into the saga has yet to be published.

by Nic Paton

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