Leeds United: Auditor probe over United accounts

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Leeds United are being investigated over the auditing of their latest financial accounts.

The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) confirmed today that it is looking into a potential conflict of interest after United’s results for the 2013-14 year were audited by a firm with family links to club chairman Andrew Umbers.

The figures - published online by Companies House this week - were approved and signed off by Gibson Booth, a firm based in Shepley near Huddersfield.

Umbers’ brother, Richard Umbers, is a partner with Gibson Booth, though Leeds’ accounts were ratified by another senior employee, Alistair Russell.

Gibson Booth became Leeds’ auditor following the resignation of Baker Tilly on August 15 last year.

Andrew Umbers joined United’s board as a director in December and became club chairman following the disqualification of owner Massimo Cellino by the Football League in January.

He previously acted as an advisor to Cellino around the time of the Italian’s takeover last April.

A spokesman for ICAEW said: “We have strict rules to address issues with regards to auditor independence, of which family ties are a part.

“We’ve only just been made aware of this situation but we will be investigating it.”

Andrew Umbers was asked to comment and a statement from Leeds said: “Alistair Russell, senior auditor and partner of Gibson Booth, checked with The Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales before Andrew Umbers was appointed as a director and gave approval to Gibson Booth that there was no conflict in them remaining auditors of Leeds United with Andrew as director.”

United’s accounts for the 12 months leading up to June 30, 2014 showed losses of £22.8m.

The period predominantly covers Gulf Finance House’s time as owner of the club, though Cellino officially took control of Leeds from April 7, 2014 onwards.

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