PracticeAccounting FirmsWorldCom: MP attacks ‘crooked accountants’

WorldCom: MP attacks 'crooked accountants'

'Crooked accountants' were yesterday (Wednesday) accused in the Commons of covering up a £3.8bn fraud at WorldCom and placing 2,500 jobs at the company's UK headquarters in Reading at risk.

The charge was levelled by furious Reading West Labour MP Martin Salter during prime minister’s question time after news of the scandal broke.

He called the WorldCom scandal ‘a bankruptcy compounded by corporate greed and dishonesty and a £3.8bn fraud covered up by crooked accountants’.

Salter said: ‘It is high time we heard less bleating and whinging from the corporate world about the burden of regulation and saw more effective supervision of international accountancy practices.’

Commons leader Robin Cook, speaking for the prime minister, on his way to the G8 Summit in Canada, said Trade and Industry secretary Patricia Hewitt had already set up an inquiry into ways in which the quality of auditing standards could be improved and the lessons to be learned by what had happened on the other side of the Atlantic.

Cook said: ‘I am sure that inquiry will wish to consider the latest collapse as well as the Enron collapse.

‘We expect the report in the summer and will look at what action we need to take and will try to take that action as quickly as possible.’

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