P&O Ferries is the subject of a criminal investigation into the mass dismissal of workers

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The Insolvency Service has launched criminal and civil investigations into the sacking of nearly 800 seafarers by P&O Ferries, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said.

He tweeted: “Following my letter to the Insolvency Service last week, formal criminal and civil investigations into P&O Ferries have now commenced.

“Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and I will continue to follow this matter closely as investigations progress.”

Shapps also wrote: ‘The Insolvency Service has reviewed the actions of P&O Ferries and placed it under criminal investigation for its actions.

“Peter Hebblethwaite appeared before MPs and admitted to breaking the law, and his actions must now be reviewed.”

The Inspector General of the Insolvency Service confirmed the investigations in a letter to the Business Secretary.

The letter stated: “As you are aware, on March 17, 2022, a total of 786 employees were made redundant across three businesses under the P&O Ferries banner.

“In your letter, you asked the Insolvency Service to undertake an urgent and thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding the dismissals made by P&O Ferries, to determine whether the law has been complied with and to consider prompt and appropriate if it was not.

“Following its investigations, I can confirm that the Insolvency Service has opened formal criminal and civil investigations into the circumstances surrounding the recent dismissals made by P&O Ferries.

“We will be issuing a short statement today confirming the above position and as you appreciate, as these investigations progress. It would not be appropriate for me to comment further at this stage. I will provide a further update day in due time.

This is breaking news – more to follow. We’ll bring you updates, photos and videos as we go.

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