PracticeAuditMystery surrounds auditor of HLS

Mystery surrounds auditor of HLS

The mystery surrounding the auditors of Huntingdon Life Sciences took another twist last week after it was revealed that the firm employed to undertake the audit has yet to register with the US accounting watchdog.

Link: HLS seeks hit-and-run audit result

Life Sciences Research, the parent company of HLS, last week notified the US Securities and Exchange Commission that its form 10-K, or annual report, would be filed late. The reason given by the company was that its independent auditors, Hugh Scott PC, were awaiting approval from the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board of its registration application before giving its audit opinion.

The filing added that it has ‘a reasonable expectation of receiving such approval within 15 days’.

But the most recent list of registration applicants, from the beginning of this month, does not show Hugh Scott as having yet applied to the PCAOB.

Little is known of Hugh Scott accountants and auditors. It is unclear whether the New Jersey-based corporation has specialist expertise in the biotechnology sector or whether it has carried out the audit for Huntingdon Life Sciences Ltd.

The firm itself has no website and is not listed in US yellow pages, a ploy that may help it to avoid the attention of protest group Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty. Last year a two-week campaign by SHAC against Deloitte forced the Big Four firm to sever its ties with the animal testing group.

Natasha Avery, co-founder of SHAC, said that the group had someone in America looking into the situation.

No one at HLS was available for comment.

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