By Anthony Harwood/UK Correspondent
A prominent Qatari property firm blamed by Carillion bosses for the collapse of the stricken construction company has told the British parliament about the ‘misleading and inaccurate statements’ made against it.
Msheireb Properties was asked by MPs to give evidence to a joint inquiry after former Carillion chief executive Richard Howson testified that his firm would not have collapsed if the Doha company had paid up on a £200mn bill it owed.
Carillion was hired to work on the £4bn redevelopment of the centre of Doha ahead of the 2022 World Cup, which Qatar is hosting.
Msheireb insisted the money was handed over in 2017 but Carillion did not pass the funds onto more than 40 subcontractors who went unpaid.
Yesterday it said it was considering legal action after having to pay the supply chain directly as well as hiring another contractor to finish the work.
The real estate development company said the move by Carillion bosses to blame it for what happened was “deeply troubling and inaccurate’, and it has set out what really happened in its response.
A spokesman said: “In a written submission, Msheireb Properties reiterated that several of the allegations made against them were misleading, and provided financial and contractual information to the committee which demonstrates this.
“Msheireb Properties is deeply saddened that Carillion collapsed, affecting so many employees, pensioners, subcontractors and projects in the United Kingdom and around
“However, the attempt by current and former executives to pass the blame to others…is deeply troubling and inaccurate.”
Doubts over what the Carillion bosses claimed have already been expressed by some MPs, who said it was obvious the company had been in trouble for some time.
Frank Field, chair of the work and pensions committee, said though Carillion told them that all was sunny, it was not so.
“Their stewardship had, they proudly told us, been adjudged ‘best in the class’ by their friends at KPMG.
“On the other hand, investors were fleeing for the hills and it appears those who looked closest ran fastest.”
More than 900 people have lost their jobs since the company was put into liquidation last month owing £1bn to the banks and suppliers, as well as having a £1bn shortfall in its pension scheme covering 25,000 people.
MPs are due to quiz the company’s auditor, KPMG, today as the firm, which took £20mn in fees from Carillion over 10 years, is investigated by the Financial Reporting Council into whether it had breached ‘ethical and technical standards’.
Even though Carillion has filed for insolvency, Msheireb, could make a claim against the administrators in the UK.
The Doha firm’s contract was with the joint venture, Carillion-Qatar, which is still operating and could be the target of any legal action.
Msheireb Properties submitted evidence to a joint inquiry being held by the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and Work and Pensions Committees.
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