Single employee responsible for tens of millions of 'false' WANdisco sales, probe finds

A single “senior sales employee” was responsible for tens of millions of pounds worth of false sales and revenue figures being posted by Yorkshire technology company WANdisco, an independent investigation has concluded.

Shares in the Sheffield-based data specialist were suspended last month revealed that it may have mis-stated its expected revenues for 2022, saying it could be as low as $9m (£7.6 million) compared with a previously stated $ 24m (£20.4 million).

A shock company statement on March 9 said the issue relating to purchase orders represented by an unnamed employee had been uncovered following investigations by co-founder and chief executive David Richards, and Erik Miller, its chief financial officer.

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FRP Advisory was called into lead an independent investigation and on April 3 it was announced Mr Richards and Mr Miller were stepping down from the leadership team.

A statement has been made to the London Stock Exchange (Picture: TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)A statement has been made to the London Stock Exchange (Picture: TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
A statement has been made to the London Stock Exchange (Picture: TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)

On the same day, it was revealed the investigation had found recognised revenue of $14.9m and sales bookings of $115m were “false” and should have been $9.7m and $11.4m respectively.

It was announced last week that the Financial Conduct Authority was starting its own investigation separate to the FRP probe.

In a statement to the London Stock Exchange issued on Friday morning, WANdisco said FRP had now reached its conclusions.

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It said: “It remains the case that the evidence identified supports the initial view that the irregularities are as a result of the actions of one senior sales employee only.”

The statement said “all of the purchase orders associated with the senior sales employee in question are illegitimate” but “all other purchase orders (i.e. those not associated with or secured by the senior sales employee in question) are legitimate”.

The report also stated: “There is no credible evidence that there are any customers using the company's technology and who believe they are making payments to either the C ompany, an authorised reseller or partner but who are instead making payments unwittingly and/or unknowingly to an unauthorised third party.

" However, notwithstanding that it would be technically extremely difficult for a third party to implement and deploy the company's product without the knowledge and support of the company, it is not possible to provide a completely definitive conclusion that there has been no unauthorised use by a third party.”

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Kenneth Lever, Executive Chairman, said: "We are pleased to receive these findings, which confirm the limits of the impact of the identified irregularities in line with our announcement of April 3.

"The Board remains squarely focused on workstreams to lift the suspension of our shares as soon as is practicable and position WANdisco for long-term growth and success."

The company is continuing its search for a new chief executive while Ijoma Maluza started work as interim CFO earlier this month.