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E&Y Accepts Disciplinary Tribunal Decision

8 December 2003

ERNST & YOUNG ACCEPTS DISCIPLINARY TRIBUNAL DECISION

Ernst & Young said today it accepted the findings of the Disciplinary Tribunal of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in relation to one of its partners and the audit of PPCS.

Ernst & Young chief executive officer John Judge said, "The Tribunal found that the Partner Ken Fergus, correctly provided an unqualified audit opinion on the PPCS accounts for the years 1998 to 2001. The Tribunal censured Mr Fergus for a minor breach of some technical and professional standards. That breach was not found to be unbecoming of an accountant. Ken remains a valued member of our audit team".

"The situation has reinforced the need for auditors to apply the utmost rigour to their work. From Ernst & Young's perspective, we constantly review and seek to improve our standards, ensuring that all auditors follow necessary protocols and processes. After an internal review, we are confident that this was an isolated incident."

The inquiry by the Tribunal grew out of the bitter legal struggle between Richmond and PPCS. The Tribunal did not support the complaint by former Richmond chief executive John Foster that had details of some contingent liabilities been disclosed in the notes to the audited accounts of PPCS, shareholders and Richmond would have been able to discover PPCS's intention a lot earlier than occurred.

ENDS

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