KPMG Canada and two of its partners, Gary Bentham and John Gordon, have
settled with the SEC after the US regulator charged the partners and the firm
with compromising independence.
Bentham, the audit engagement partner, and Gordon the SEC reviewing partner,
were said to have provided Southwestern Water Exploration Company, which has
since gone bust, with bookkeeping services from 1999 to 2002 and then audited
their own work – a breach of the SEC’s rules of practice. The SEC found this to
be ‘improper professional conduct’.
KPMG Canada has settled the charges, agreed to implement new auditor
independence policies and paid $73,682 (£41,095) plus interest – the equivalent
of audit and bookkeeping fees its was paid by Southwestern.
Bentham and Gordon also settled, but have been suspended from practicing as
accountants before the Commission for two years and nine months respectively.
The SEC’s order has censured the firm on discussing the matter further.
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