HLS has been left without an auditor since Deloitte & Touche pulled away from the company following two weeks of intensive protests by SHAC (Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty) and other animal rights groups. The company is now searching for another auditor and is looking for ways to protect the identity of anyone undertaking the audit for as long as possible.
‘We have been talking to the Securities and Exchange Commission over this and there are ways and means to find out the next auditor,’ said SHAC co-ordinator Greg Avery. ‘But there is no legal requirement to reveal their identity until the annual report and we expect HLS to keep it secret for as long as possible.’
Avery also confirmed that it would target any firm retrospectively that takes on the audit of HLS but then severs ties before its identity is revealed. ‘We will provide a living lesson to any auditor that tries to fool us by this method,’ said Avery. ‘Every accounting firm knows exactly what happened to Deloitte & Touche.’
Avery added that SHAC had learned its own lessons after being duped by NatWest Bank. NatWest leaked information that it was pulling away from HLS following a series of protests, at which point SHAC decided to cease actions. The bank, however continued supplying services to HLS for another eight months.
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