Coopers & Lybrand, now part of PricewaterhouseCoopers, faces a disciplinary hearing starting on Monday over its role as auditor of collapsed merchant bank Barings.
An accountants’ Joint Disciplinary Tribunal, which has the power to impose a large fine on the firm, has already considered the role of Coopers and two of its audit partners – Gareth Davies and Andrew Turner – and made a judgement last year.
Its findings, however, were never revealed due to an appeal by Coopers, resulting in next week’s hearing.
The tribunal has the power to take other sanctions such as banning the partners from the profession.
Rogue trader Nick Leeson’s activities will also come back to haunt the firm as it starts to defend itself next month against a #1bn negligence claim brought by Barings liquidator Ernst & Young.
Due to start at the beginning of October, experts say the case could be one of the most expensive in legal history.
All sides, including Coopers’ fellow defendant Deloitte & Touche, also a former Barings auditor, are due to meet at a case management meeting tomorrow. One of the issues likely to be discussed is the ability of Barings creditors to fund the case. A settlement, however, it still possible.
The JDS’s website is at www.castigator.org.uk
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