Banknote manufacturer De La Rue has called in the Serious Fraud Office after establishing that staff "deliberately falsified" paper specification test certificates in a scandal the firm estimates will cost it at least £35 million.
In July the world's biggest banknote printing company suspended production at a Hampshire plant over "quality and production irregularities" and last month CEO James Hussey quit, saying he had to take responsibility for the problem.
In an update that saw its share price fall 22.5 pence to 681 pence yesterday, De la Rue now says "certain paper specification test certificates for a limited number of customers" have been falsified deliberately by some employees.
"Banknote paper specifications have a large number of detailed parameters and the investigation has found in certain cases that a small number of them have fallen marginally short of specification," says the statement.
The SFO has now been brought in to investigate the issue which is expected to hit De La Rue's first half pre-tax profit by at least £35 million
Nicholas Brookes, executive chairman, De La Rue, says: "The behaviour of some of our employees in this matter was totally unacceptable and contravened De La Rue's rigorous standards. We do not tolerate such behaviour and appropriate disciplinary action is being taken."