The shaming of an audit giant: KPMG sinks even deeper into disgrace

The shaming of an audit big: ‘Untruthful’ Massive 4 accountant KPMG sinks even deeper into shame over Silentnight collapse

KPMG and certainly one of its senior companions lied of their defence of labor for troubled mattress firm Silentnight, a tribunal has discovered.

The accounting big ‘superior an untruthful defence’ when it claimed it had no selection however to push Silentnight into insolvency and advise that it bought itself to non-public fairness agency HIG Capital, the impartial disciplinary tribunal mentioned.

It additionally discovered that KPMG and David Costley-Wooden, former head of restructuring in Manchester who led the Silentnight work, did not cooperate with investigators from the regulator, not offering proof when requested.

Fallacious numbers: Massive 4 accountant KPMG has been concerned in a string of scandals over audits it carried out for a few of Britain’s main firms

In an embarrassing public shaming, the tribunal discovered that KPMG had:

  • Lied in its defence
  • Did not disclose greater than 1,800 paperwork to investigators
  • Was untruthful in claiming Costley-Wooden had not used his non-public e mail for work functions
  • Engaged in a battle of pursuits in working for each Silentnight and HIG
  • Failed to inform regulators that it had been working for Silentnight earlier than it was formally taken on
  • Put the cash of 1,200 savers in Silentnight’s pension scheme in danger.

It’s the first time that the tribunal has discovered any celebration responsible of mendacity of their defence. In a stinging rebuke to KPMG, regulator the Monetary Reporting Council (FRC) mentioned: ‘Advancing a defence which a respondent is aware of is untruthful severely dangers undermining the regulatory system [and] compounds the unique failings.’

The general public shaming comes because the agency additionally faces authorized motion for its function in a number of collapses, together with Carillion and Cut price Booze proprietor Conviviality.

The string of scandals involving so-called Massive 4 companies like KPMG has led to a shake-up of the accounting trade.

KPMG and Costley-Wooden – who was paid greater than £800,000 in every of his final two years on the agency – had been accused of a critical battle of curiosity.  

In addition to advising the mattress enterprise on its choices because it struggled underneath a heavy debt pile, KPMG additionally labored with HIG – which finally purchased Silentnight’s debt, piled strain on the agency till it grew to become bancrupt, and managed to snap up the corporate on a budget in 2011, ditching its pension obligations.

The FRC fined KPMG £13million, the second largest penalty ever. Costley-Wooden was slapped with a £500,000 sanction and banned from the trade for 13 years.

KPMG has since bought its personal insolvency enterprise, now referred to as Interpath, to HIG. However the tribunal’s report reveals the extent of KPMG’s wrongdoing. One trade supply mentioned it was ‘simply one other signal of the tradition at KPMG’.

A key allegation levelled by the FRC in opposition to Costley-Wooden was that he had not thought of some other choices for Silentnight (which was promoted by singer Myleene Klass, pictured, earlier than its collapse) aside from a sale to HIG.

The tribunal added: ‘Our impression was that he was an individual who labored shortly and underneath strain and spent little time reviewing paperwork to evaluate their accuracy earlier than he agreed to them and will act (together with answering questions in cross examination) impetuously.’

The tribunal additionally discovered it ‘tough to elucidate’ KPMG’s failure to inform regulators that it had achieved £45,000 of labor for Silentnight earlier than being formally taken on.

KPMG’s UK chief govt Jon Holt mentioned the report made ‘tough studying’.

He added: ‘We settle for the findings. We remorse that the skilled requirements we count on of our companions weren’t met and that it has taken over a decade to achieve this level.’


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