A Big 4 Firm Being Untruthful? You Don’t Say!

From the Financial Times yesterday:

A senior KPMG partner advanced an “untruthful” defence at a disciplinary hearing into the accounting firm’s misconduct in the sale of bedmaker Silentnight to a private equity fund, a tribunal has found.

The tribunal also found that KPMG and David Costley-Wood, the partner who led the Silentnight work, had failed to co-operate in not providing evidence to investigators from the UK accounting regulator.

KPMG was fined £13m in August and ordered to pay more than £2.75m in costs for its role in placing Silentnight into an insolvency process in 2011, which allowed HIG Capital to acquire it without the burden of its £100m pension scheme.

The accounting firm was found to have acted in the interests of HIG, which it was nurturing as a potential client, even though these were “diametrically opposed” to those of its client Silentnight. KPMG sold its own insolvency advice business, now called Interpath, to HIG this year.

In addition to the £13 million fine the Queen’s KPMG received, Costley-Wood was fined £500,000, severely reprimanded, and excluded from holding an insolvency licence or being a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales for 13 years. The tribunal recommended he be banned for 15 years. During a four-week hearing held last November and December, he called the Financial Reporting Council’s case against him a “witch hunt” and said the regulator was “trying to trash my name in the press.”

However, most likely knowing the shit was going to hit the fan, Costley-Wood conveniently “retired” from KPMG on June 4.

You can read the tribunal’s full report here.

KPMG accused of ‘untruthful’ defence over Silentnight misconduct [Financial Times

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