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&#39Debate the issues in Parliament&#39

Equitable Life chief executive Charles Thomson is urging the Parliamentary Ombudsman to reopen her inquiry into the society following publication of the Penrose Report.

Thomson says that Parliament must fully debate the issues raised by Lord Penrose in a bid to draw a line under the suffering of policyholders.

But he has expressed frustration that the report, which he says is of huge importance to the industry and Equitable, was not disclosed to the society in advance of its wider publication.

As a result, he says that there will be an “unnecessary vacuum” before the board will offer a considered response, although he says it has not found evidence that would support a sustainable case of fraud. The society is co-operating with the Serious Fraud Office, the FSA, the Financial Ombudsman Service and the Government to increase stability for policyholders, he says.

Responding to the report highlighting failures of some former directors, Thomson says the current board believes that there are strong claims against some former directors and former auditors Ernst & Young. A court case is scheduled for April 2005.

Thomson says: “Policyholders have suffered enough and a fair, fast and final solution drawing a line under the past is now required. There must be a full airing of the issues raised by Lord Penrose&#39s Report in Parliament as soon as possible.”

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