July 29, 2019 / 6:43 PM / in 7 months

Grant Thornton to quit as Sports Direct auditor over 674 million euro tax bill - FT

FILE PHOTO: Shoppers walk past Sports Direct store on Oxford Street in London, Britain December 17, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson

(Reuters) - Grant Thornton, the auditor of Sports Direct International SPD.L, has told UK regulators it intends to quit its role following concerns over the disclosure of a 674 million euro (£615 million) tax bill from Belgian authorities, the Financial Times reported on Monday.

The firm made the decision to resign after Sports Direct informed it of the tax bill just hours before Grant Thornton was due to sign off on the company’s annual results, the FT said.

Grant Thornton is set to step away from its role after the troubled retailer’s annual general meeting in September, the FT said.

A Grant Thornton spokesman said the company had no comment on the FT report. Sports Direct did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

The audit watchdog Financial Reporting Council has been informed of its plans, the newspaper said, citing sources.

The FRC also did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comments

The British sporting goods retailer earlier in the day blamed the Belgian tax bill as the reason for the delay in announcement of its annual results.

Reporting by Bhargav Acharya and Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Dan Grebler and Leslie Adler

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