New Brunswick government seeks to recoup $50 million lost in Atcon collapse

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FREDERICTON - The New Brunswick government has launched a lawsuit against an accounting firm in an effort to recover $50 million.

The lawsuit filed with the Court of Queen's Bench in Saint John alleges that Grant Thornton was negligent and in breach of its duties to the province in an inspection of the financial books of the Atcon group of companies.

The statement of claim says that without the Grant Thornton opinions and representations, the provincial government would not have given Atcon $50 million in loan guarantees in 2009.

None of the allegations contained in the statement of claim have been proven in court.

Atcon, based in Miramichi, went bankrupt in April 2010.

Norm Raynard, managing partner in New Brunswick for Grant Thornton, says in an emailed statement that the accounting firm will vigorously defend itself against the accusations.

He says he believes the timing of the lawsuit is influenced by the province's political calendar.

The next provincial election is set for Sept. 22.

Attorney General Hugh Flemming says the timing is not political and the government is doing everything it can to recover the money.

Organizations: Grant Thornton, Queen's

Geographic location: New Brunswick, FREDERICTON, Saint John Miramichi

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