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Troubled tech firm WANdisco hires rubbish firm boss to run fraud investigation

Software firm WANdisco has asked for its shares to be suspended and warned over its future after uncovering “potential fraudulent irregularities” in its reported revenues. (PA Wire)
Software firm WANdisco has asked for its shares to be suspended and warned over its future after uncovering “potential fraudulent irregularities” in its reported revenues. (PA Wire)

Troubled tech business WANdisco has appointed the boss of rubbish firm to its board in a bid to reassure shareholders over the quality of its operations amid an investigation into potential fraud.

Ken Lever, who until recently was chair of waste management business Biffa, has been brought in as interim chair and will also chair the fraud investigation alongside non-exec director Peter Lees and audit committee chair Karl Monaghan.

WANdisco said in a statement: “As Chair, Ken will provide leadership and direction to the Board and oversee the strategic direction and corporate governance of the Company.”

The Sheffield-based business, which only weeks ago was eyeing a US listing for its shares, earlier this month asked for them to be suspended in London as it discovered a major fraud that could threaten it as a going concern.

In a shock announcement to the stock exchange, it tore up its guidance for 2022 and said an investigation was under way to identify its “true financial position” after sales booked by an employee appeared to have been inflated.

Since the discovery, the firm has yet to update shareholders with more details on what was behind the misstated sales figures and who was responsible, raising questions over the scale of possible criminality involved in what it called “significant, sophisticated and potentially fraudulent irregularities.”

South Yorkshire police and San Francisco police told the Standard they had not had any reports from WANdisco relating to fraud. WANdisco and the London Stock Exchange declined to comment on whether police were involved in the investigation.

A one-time stock-market darling, WAN helps companies move complex data systems to run via cloud computing and helps manage connected devices in the so-called “internet of things”, long-seen as an area of significant potential growth. It is exactly the kind of company courted by politicians keen to establish London as a centre for high tech, cutting edge companies.

WAN had a market value in London of around £880 million at the time its shares were suspended at 1310p each. Its clients have included Barclays, Daimler, games maker EA and GoDaddy, the US internet domain company.