Andersen defends role at SSL

The profession’s watchdog, the Joint Disciplinary Scheme, announced yesterday that it is to investigate the firm over its role as auditor to SSL and London International Group, including Seton Scholl Healthcare which merged to become SSL in June 1999.

In spring last year SSL enlisted KPMG to investigate the possibility that profits had been inflated by booking unconfirmed sales. The company later announced at its annual general meeting that a complex fraud appeared to have taken place.

But in its defence, Andersen said it was not allowed to communicate with the directors, employees or customers involved, which caused restrictions in its audit for the year ended 31 March 2001. The audit was later qualified.

In a statement Andersen said: ‘Andersen did not consider that the evidence available to it was sufficient to support the prior period adjustments recorded by the SSL directors.’

The JDS investigation will also include scrutiny of the role of former finance director Paul Sanders.

Related reading