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Companies (Audit, Investigations and Community Enterprise) Act 2004

Powers to investigate

117.The Secretary of State has a range of powers under companies legislation to investigate the affairs of a company and related matters.  The vast majority of company investigations are carried out under section 447 of the Companies Act 1985.  Members of DTI’s Companies Investigations Branch (CIB) or other competent individuals can be authorised to require the production of documents and can require explanations of any document from the person who produces it or from any past or present officer or employee of the company.  These are confidential fact-finding inquiries, but there is a disclosure regime which allows, for example, information to be passed to other regulators.  Investigations under section 447 are carried out where, for example, there are grounds for suspicion of fraud, misfeasance, misconduct, conduct unfairly prejudicial to shareholders or of failure to supply shareholders with information they may reasonably expect.

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