How much more sleazy can the Carillion privatisation mess get?h

This is from the Daily Mail “This is Money” on 12 September 2017:

“Troubled engineer Carillion introduced tougher rules that protect bonuses paid to bosses – just months before it was embroiled in an accounting crisis that wiped £600million off its shares.

The firm changed the wording of its pay policy to make it harder for investors to claw back bonuses paid to executives in the event it ran into financial difficulty.

In recent days Carillion has been under pressure from investors to recoup some of the millions of pounds in bonuses paid to former chief executive Richard Howson and ex-finance chief Richard Adam when they were in charge.
A probe by the Mail has found that previously bosses could have been forced to hand back their annual bonus and share awards in ‘circumstances of corporate failure’.

But in the group’s 2016 annual report this wording was tightened.
It says deferred bonuses may be reduced in circumstances of corporate failure but goes on to say the so-called ‘malus’ and ‘clawback’ provisions can be applied in two circumstances: if results have been misstated or the participant is guilty of gross misconduct.

The changes to clawback rules, if interpreted as being a higher bar, could save bosses millions.

Howson, 49, stepped down from his role as chief executive on the day of the disastrous trading update. He had been in the post since 2009.

He is still with the company as chief operating officer but is due to leave next year. He has made £1.9 million in cash and share bonuses during his tenure, only not getting an award in 2012, according to Mail calculations.
Last year he pocketed a £245,000 bonus in cash and shares as well as a £346,000 long-term incentive award.

Adam, 59, has had up to £2.6million in extra cash and shares since starting in 2006, according to Mail calculations.

Last year he was handed a bonus of £140,000 and long-term incentive awards worth £278,000.

After leaving Carillion in December 2016, he faced a revolt from shareholders at First Group when he joined the transport company’s board. More than a fifth opposed his appointment.

Carillion is still one of the most shorted stocks on the market, suggesting investors are expecting worse to come. But shares closed up 3.7 per cent yesterday, or 1.6p, at 44.76p.

The company declined to comment.”