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Yorkshire chairman banned from auditing in wake of BHS collapse

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Steve Denison, the chairman of Yorkshire County Cricket Club, is facing a lengthy ban from audit work after being handed one of the biggest personal fines in the history of accountancy regulation.

Sky News have revealed that Denison, a former partner at accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), is to be fined GBP500,000 and banned for 15 years by the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) for his part in the audit of BHS ahead of its controversial sale by Philip Green in 2014. Denison was lead partner on the BHS audit.

The deal, which included a GBP215million write-off of debt, saw the lossmaking business with a large pension deficit sold to Dominic Chappell, a three-time former bankrupt with no retail experience, for GBP1. BHS subsequently went into administration and, after no buyer was found, was wound down. 11,000 jobs were lost and the pension deficit was assessed to be GBP571million. Green eventually agreed to pay GBP363million into the pension scheme after the Pensions Regulator initiated legal action against him.

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It is understood that Denison left PwC last week. Sky News have reported that the fine will be reduced to GBP325,000 after Denison agreed to settle. He will be in his late 60s by the time the ban expires so it effectively ends his career. He is also understood to have agreed to remove himself from the register of statutory auditors.

Denison had previously been obliged to appear before a House of Commons Select Committee who wanted to know why PwC had been prepared to sign off the company’s accounts as a going concern when insolvency seemed imminent.

Yorkshire were contacted for comment but, at the time of publishing, had not responded.

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