An auditor at Deloitte's offices in Brazil raised concerns about a Parmalat subsidiary nearly three years before the dairy conglomerate collapsed, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Link: Parmalat special
The Cayman Islands-based Bonlat subsidiary has since been found to be at the heart of the multi-billion dollar fraud – Parmalat was placed in administration on 24 December last year.
The auditor allegedly voiced his concerns to partners in Deloitte’s Italian offices as early as March 2001 and again in 2002.
Despite the warnings, Deloitte Italy failed to spot the signs at Parmalat.
Reports also suggest that Deloitte Italy hinted that if Deloitte Brazil questioned the suspicious financial transactions involving Bonlat it could harm its relationship with Parmalat.
Deloitte claims that as auditor to the holding group of companies, it only had to audit 51% of Parmalat’s assets under Italian law. Bonlat fell in the remaining 49% handled by seperate auditors.
A Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu spokeswoman told Accountancy Age in January: ‘The standards in Italy are different and our feeling is that we acted properly throughout and in accordance with the relevant standards.’