Shareholder pressure is believed to be the reason why Compass Group has
appointed Ernst & Young to probe allegations of corrupt buying practices at
a group subsidiary, rather than registered auditors Deloitte.
The FTSE100 caterer hired E&Y to review the accounts of Eurest Support
Services (ESS), a subsidiary that supplies UN peacekeepers in eight countries.
The Big Four firm is assisting law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in the
investigation into allegations that ESS executives Peter Harris and Andy Seiwert
purchased IHC Services, a company suspected of leaking UN tender details to ESS.
Analysts believe that Compass brought in E&Y in favour of Deloitte in the
wake of shareholder dissatisfaction over the appointment of Freshfields to look
into the ESS matter.
‘Compass came under a great deal of pressure when it appointed Freshfields
because they were already acting as the group’s lawyers. The decision to go with
E&Y instead of Deloitte was prompted by this,’ a City analyst said.
Compass has valued its UN contracts at £35m. The group said the appointment
of both Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Ernst & Young showed how
seriously it took the matter.
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