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Auditors to look into Purcell firm

City Building (Glasgow) LLP, a construction firm set up by Steven Purcell when he ran Glasgow City Council, is to have its accounts independently audited because it gave £10 million of work to a company run by Willie Haughey, the Labour party’s biggest donor in Scotland.

In 2007, City Building awarded a couple of large contracts to City Refrigeration Holdings UK, owned by Mr Haughey. He has donated at least £1.1 million to Labour since 2003, according to The Herald newspaper.

City Building replaced the council’s building services in 2006 and was established as a “tax-efficient trading unit”, allowed to bid for construction work beyond Glasgow. It turns over £180 million and employs about 2,000 people.

Its managing director, chairman and board are all linked to Labour - one executive is Lesley Quinn, who was once the general secretary of the Scottish Labour party, the newspaper said.

City Building has refused to make public the City Refrigeration contracts, despite more than a year of freedom of information requests from The Herald. It claims the awarding of the contracts was done in such a unique fashion that it is a trade secret and is exempt from freedom of information laws.

Details of the contracts are “commercially sensitive” and cannot be released, according to City Building on Sunday.