Although the ICAEW will initially be tasked with launching an investigation, if the case is found to be in the public interest it would then be referred to the profession’s watchdog, the Joint Disciplinary Scheme, headed by executive counsel Chris Dickson.
The institute would not confirm anything yet, but a referral to the JDS could happen within the next few weeks, with the maximum penalty being the withdrawal of Andersen UK’s audit certificate.
The London office moved to the centre of the Enron debacle after it was named in a US Justice Department indictment accusing the firm of ‘obstruction of justice’ – the first criminal charges to emerge from the scandal.
Observers have suggested that a deal must have already been struck with one of the individuals involved in the shredding of documents at Andersen’s London office for the incident to be cited in the indictment.
A very real fear for UK partners of Andersen is civil action being taken against them personally. The firm is not a limited liability partnership so all partners are jointly and severally liable.
HMRC breaches client confidentiality; and partner profits fall at EY. These stories and more discussed in Friday Afternoon Live
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