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Refco was not Sarbox compliant

Futures broker was not Sarbox compliant at time of listing, which could protect auditors Grant Thornton

Refco, the futures broker that is the subject of an SEC fraud probe, was
still not Sarbox compliant when it raised $583m (£333.4m) on the New York Stock
Exchange in August.

In the prospectus issued before its listing, Refco admitted that it would be
exposed to risks relating to the evaluation of its internal controls as required
by section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley act, which was introduced in 2002 to
prevent corporate scandals such as Enron and WorldCom.

Refco said at the time that it was confident of achieving Sarbanes-Oxley
compliance by the deadline of 28 February, 2007.

It added, however, that it was still ‘in the process of evaluating, testing
and implementing internal controls over financial reporting’ and did not have
the actual controls in place for auditors Grant Thornton to attest to.

This could protect Grant Thornton from an auditor liability charge, as there
were no internal controls in place to audit prior to the news that Refco CEO
Phillip Bennett may have been involved in a $430 (£245m) fraud.

In a statement Refco said: ‘We cannot be certain as to the timing of the
completion of our evaluation, testing and remediation actions or the impact of
the same on our operations.

‘If we are not able to implement the requirements of Section 404 in a timely
manner or with adequate compliance, we may be subject to investigation and
sanctions by regulatory authorities, such as the SEC and the NYSE.’

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