Big Five – JDS to investigate Coopers over Barings

Complaints against Coopers & Lybrand and two of its partners involved in the Barings Bank scandal will be investigated, the Joint Disciplinary Scheme said this week, writes Chris Quick.

Chris Dickson, executive counsel of the profession’s watchdog, said on Monday that he had completed his investigation into the part Coopers played in the Barings collapse and found there were grounds for complaints against the firm and two of its partners, Gareth Davies and Andrew Turner.

A JDS tribunal is expected to hear the complaints next year.

Coopers, now part of PricewaterhouseCoopers, acted as auditors to Barings in 1993 and was involved in the 1994 audit at the time that Nick Leeson was attempting to cover up the #860m he had lost on financial markets.

The bank was sold for #1 to ING in March 1995.

A PwC spokeswoman said: ‘We are disappointed that the Joint Disciplinary Scheme has decided to lay complaints, but we will be co-operating fully in the process.’ She declined to comment on what the JDS’ specific complaints against the firm were.

Coopers also faces a JDS tribunal over its work for the Robert Maxwell business empire, while a JDS investigation into its dealings with Resort Hotels, a 55-strong hotel chain which crashed in 1994, is still continuing.

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