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Trading of Lookers shares suspended after fraud probe

Trading of Lookers shares has been temporarily suspended after a company-wide fraud investigation delayed publication of its 2019 annual financial results.

The London Stock Exchange yesterday issued a statement confirming that share trading had been temporarily curtailed.

Lookers, the firm that owns the Charles Hurst Group, had its shares suspended at a value of 21p on July 1, 88.6 per cent down on its December 2015 peak of 185p.

A fraud investigation covering Lookers’ entire UK operation had uncovered account inaccuracies of £19m, which delayed its 2019 financial results.

Lookers said that the sum had resulted from overstated supplier bonuses, fraudulent expenses claims and the inconsistent application of policies, processes and accounting standards over several years.

Because June 30 was the last date permitted for publication of the 2019 results under the Financial Conduct Authority’s Disclosure Guidance and Transparency Rules, Lookers said it requested that the listing of its ordinary shares be temporarily suspended with effect from 07:30 on July 1, until it can publish the 2019 results.

Lookers also plans to close a further 12 car dealerships and make up to 1,500 redundancies as part of a restructure plan targeting annual savings of £50m