financial crime

  • US: SEC Suspends Former KPMG Partner

    The US financial regulatory agencysuspended an accountant on Wednesday following a year-long prison sentence he received for having illicitly acquired confidential information about when and how KPMG, the accounting firm he worked for, would be inspected in order improve results. 

    KPMG Headquarters Photo Credit: Line Ørstavik (CC BY 2.0)KPMG Headquarters Photo Credit: Line Ørstavik (CC BY 2.0)The US Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, barred David Middendorf from practicing accounting in the three states he previously was certified in -- Georgia, New York, and Ohio. 

     Middendorf served as a former national managing partner for audit quality at the “Big Four” accounting firm, KPMG, at the time the firm fared poorly in inspections conducted by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, PCAOB, a nonprofit corporation overseen by the SEC that inspects the audit work performed by registered accounting firms.

     Under the leadership of Middendorf, several employees worked to improve the firm’s performance by recruiting and hiring former PCAOB employees and obtaining information on which KPMG audits would be inspected, according to the Department of Justice

    Jeffery Wada, an inspection leader at the PCAOB provided Cynthia Holder, a former PCAOB employee who was hired by KPMG, with confidential information about future audits on the company’s findings. 

     “I have the grocery list… All the things you’ll need for the year,” Wada texted Holder, in reference to the entire 2017 final confidential  inspection selections. Holder shared this information to Brian Sweet, another former PCAOB employee who had joined KPMG, who then passed the information on to Middendorf. 

     Authorities arrested the group in 2018 and charged them with conspiracy and wire fraud.

     A US$50 million fine was also issued to KPMG by the SEC last summer for altering past audit work. The firm was also ordered to hire an independent consultant “to review and assess the firm’s ethics and integrity controls and its compliance with various undertakings,” a press release by the agency stated. 

    “The breadth and seriousness of the misconduct at issue here is, frankly, astonishing,” Steven Peikin, Co-Director of the SEC’s Enforcement Division, said in the same press release. “This settlement reflects the need to severely punish this sort of wrongdoing while putting in place measures designed to prevent its recurrence.”

  • Polish Anti-corruption Agency Detains Former Govt Officials

    Polish authorities arrested a former defence ministry official, a former parliamentarian and four more suspects as part of an investigation into the mismanagement of assets at the country’s state-owned defence firm, according to a statement released on Monday.

  • Airbus Launches Internal Corruption Probe into Unexplained US$ 19M Payment

    Aerospace giant Airbus has begun an internal investigation into possible corruption following a series of dubious financial transactions uncovered by the Guardian that resulted in a multi-million dollar unexplained payment, theGuardian reported Monday.

  • Facing US$ 630m Fine, Pakistan’s Biggest Bank to Shut US Branch

    Pakistan’s largest bank will shutter its only branch in the United States after regulators there announced they were seeking a US$ 630 million fine for failure to follow anti-money laundering measures, Reuters reported Monday.

  • Russian Laundromat Investigation Targets Royal Bank of Scotland

    The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) disclosed Friday that it is under investigation by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority for suspicions of money laundering "in relation to certain customers."

  • US Accuses Chinese Firm Of Laundering North Korean Funds

    The US has accused a Chinese-based company of laundering money from a sanctioned North Korean bank through American financial institutions, Reuters reported Friday.

  • Former Argentinian President to Stand Trial for Financial Mismanagement

    An Argentinian judge on Thursdayordered the former president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner to stand trial on charges that she organized a plan to defraud the government over US$ 3 billion by manipulating the country’s Central Bank.

  • Vietnam: Police Arrest Ex-Bankers for Fraudulent Loans

    Vietnamese anti-corruption police arrested seven former members of TrustBank’s Credit Board for allegedly approving illegal loans causing approximately US$ 21 million in losses, state media reported Wednesday.

  • US Investigators ‘Expand Deutsche Bank Money-Laundering Probe’ into Russian Trades

    The US Department of Justice (USDOJ) and New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) have expanded their Deutsche Bank money-laundering probe to determine whether western sanctions against Russia were breached.

  • Moldova: Businessman Sentenced in Missing Billion Case

    A company director has been sentenced to four years in prison for fraudulently obtaining a loan of € 1.7 million (US$ 1.9 million) from the Banca de Economii (BEM) – one of the financial institutions at the heart of Moldova's "missing billion" scandal.

  • United States: Three Million Reward for Suspected Carder.su Kingpin and Accomplice

    The US Department of State has announced US$ 3 million in rewards for tips that would help them arrest two alleged leaders of an online cybercrime syndicate responsible for US$ 50 million of financial losses worldwide.

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