Control your own destiny or someone else will. So said Jack Welch, erstwhile leader of General Electric. Unfortunately for GE that someone may have arrived. Harry Markopolos, an accounting expert best known for flagging Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme, claims GE has a $38bn gap in its accounts. This week he accused it of running an accounting fraud that is "bigger than Enron and WorldCom combined". He makes some good points, though none is new.

For years, analysts have bemoaned the way the struggling industrial conglomerate presents its accounts — which at best were confusing and, at worst, the