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The unusual tale of an auditing spiritualist

Chandler, Roy A. ORCID: and MacNiven, Louise 2014. The unusual tale of an auditing spiritualist. Accounting History 19 (3) , pp. 333-349. 10.1177/1032373214534416

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The London and General Bank case is well known in auditing history. Less familiar are some of the characters involved in the group of companies financed by the Bank and its sister institution, the Liberator Building Society. At the centre of the group was a Victorian rogue, Jabez Spencer Balfour, who ensured that only those he could dominate and manipulate were chosen to take part in his complex and fraudulent schemes. Two chartered accountant brothers were drawn into Balfour’s web. One of these, Morell Theobald, had an interest in the supernatural, although his claims about supernatural activities were disputed and he was more or less branded a fraud and a liar by fellow spiritualists. Using correspondence between Balfour and Theobald and between Theobald’s wife and the Home Secretary, we reveal insights to the psychology of the main character in the scheme and one of his weak-willed disciples. The evidence shows that Theobald knew enough about accounting and finance to realize that the strategy adopted by Balfour could not be sustained.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Publisher: SAGE Publications
ISSN: 1032-3732
Last Modified: 27 Oct 2022 08:54

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