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British fraud office to probe MG Rover collapse

autos Updated: Jul 06, 2009 14:54 IST
Britain's Serious Fraud Office

Britain's Serious Fraud Office will decide whether a criminal investigation should be launched in to the 2005 collapse of carmaker MG Rover, the government said on Monday, delaying the publication of its own inquiry.

Britain's last major independent carmaker went into administration in April 2005 with debts of more than a billion pounds and with the loss of about 6,000 jobs.

"There has been a comprehensive and thorough investigation into the events which led to the company failing, workers losing their jobs and creditors not getting paid," said business minister Peter Mandelson. "The SFO must now see if there are grounds for prosecution."

The government report, the result of a four-year probe into the demise of one of Britain's most iconic carmakers, was completed by inspectors on June 11 but the government said its publication could prejudice any potential criminal case.

Opposition politicians have said the report will show the Labour government, in power since 1997, wasted millions of pounds of taxpayers' money propping up the car company in the run-up to the 2005 election.