'Cosy cabal' of accountants to be grilled by politicians over self-regulation and apparent conflicts of interest.
. . . As bankers take a kicking from an increasingly irate public, auditors have avoided the anger, even though they signed off trillion-dollar balance sheets, sanctioned increased dividends in bank shares that collapsed months later, blithely assumed markets would function seamlessly and established controversial rules that inflated bubbles and amplified losses. . .
A trawl through the list of failed banks reveals the same audit names over and over again, because multinational auditing is the near-exclusive preserve of four firms - PricewaterhouseCoopers, KPMG, Ernst & Young and Deloitte & Touche.
The roll call of shamed institutions links PricewaterhouseCoopers to Northern Rock, Landsbanki, Carlyle Capital Corporation and Glitnir. Deloitte & Touche signed off Alliance & Leicester, RBS and Bear Stearns. KPMG did the numbers for HBOS, Kaupthing, and Bradford & Bingley, while Ernst & Young had the big one: Lehman Brothers. 25-Oct-09.
Oct. 7 (Bloomberg) -- Iceland’s parliament may demand the government abandon its International Monetary Fund economic program and relinquish further loan payments after the IMF delayed a review of the program for eight months.. .
The delays in the review, originally scheduled for February, are “embarrassing for us and it is embarrassing for the IMF,” Finance Minister Steingrimur J. Sigfusson, chairman of the Left Greens, said yesterday. “Iceland doesn’t have everlasting patience and if the review doesn’t take place soon, we will have to examine our position.” 07-Oct-09.
Iceland’s prime minister has hit out against the International Monetary Fund and the British and Dutch governments for holding up recovery efforts a year after the country’s banking sector collapsed.
Johanna Sigurdardottir, the prime minister, said that it was “not acceptable” that the IMF had delayed a review for months. This review is needed before Iceland can access more of its $5.1bn (£3.2bn) international rescue package . . .
In written answers to FT questions, she said that the UK and Dutch authorities “cannot wash their hands” of regulatory responsibility for the failures of Icelandic banks that operated in Britain and the Netherlands.
She suggested that the UK was contradicting Mr Brown’s own principles by making Icelanders pay for the mistakes of a private Icelandic bank. “The British prime minister has said that it’s not the general public that should suffer from the wrongdoings of the banks but the banks should compensate the public. Obviously he does not count the Icelandic public in [that].” 05-Oct-09.
STOCKHOLM, Oct 2 (Reuters) - Reykjavik police raided the offices of accountancy companies KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers this week as part of a probe into alleged criminal misdeeds by Icelandic banks, the special prosecutor said on Friday.
More than 20 police officers searched the firms' branch offices as part of an investigation into banking clients Kaupthing, Glitnir and Landsbanki, which all collapsed during Iceland's financial crisis last year.
Olafur Thor Hauksson, head of an investigation into the banks' collapse, told Reuters on Friday that investigators seized computer records and software containing a 'huge amount of information' that would take some time to process. 02-Oct-09.
The nation can hold its head up high. Once again, Britons have been honoured in the annual Ig Nobel awards ceremony, the second most important event on the scientific calendar. The Ig Nobels, or Igs, are an annual exercise in irreverence that celebrate research that "cannot, or should not, be repeated". . .
The ceremony took place at Harvard University, with the coveted prizes handed out by real Nobel laureates. . .
Awarded to the directors, executives and auditors of four Icelandic banks: Kaupthing bank, Landsbanki, Glitnir bank and Central Bank of Iceland, "for demonstrating that tiny banks can be rapidly transformed into huge banks, and vice versa – and for demonstrating that similar things can be done to an entire national economy". 02-Oct-09.
The panic may have subsided since last year, but many savers and investors are still fighting to reclaim their cash from collapsed banks. . .
A total of 1,600 savers — more than 90 per cent of them British — had about £120 million invested when the Channel Islands bank was placed in administration last October. Depositors have so far received about 55p in the pound from the administrators. The Guernsey authorities have promised nothing.
Matthew Dorman, a member of the Landsbanki Guernsey Depositors’ Action Group, says: “The administrator expects that the final repayment would be in the range of 70 to 80 per cent. But that would be far short of the 100 per cent that depositors in Landsbanki’s UK and Dutch arms received almost nine months ago.”
Mark Ashbey, another member of the action group, is horrified by Guernsey’s failure to support depositors. “It is truly incredible that affluent Guernsey is still the only country in the world that has refused to help stricken savers in any way,” he says. 26-Sep-09.
Britain has asked Iceland to spell out how it will repay the £2.3bn it cost to bail out UK savers amid concerns that a future Reykjavik government could seek to write off part of the debt. . .
The Government is seeking a guarantee from Reykjavik that 2024 will not mark a deadline on payments and that all the cash will be paid.
REYKJAVIK, Sept 19 (Reuters) - Iceland's finance minister said British and Dutch objections to proposals for repaying debts of more than $5 billion were only an initial response and all three countries wanted to resolve the issue quickly, according to media reports on Saturday. . .
After an initial agreement to repay the funds, Iceland's parliament attached amendments stipulating limits on the amount that can be repaid and setting a June 2024 expiry date for the agreement.
Britain and the Netherlands earlier this week objected to the deadline, Icelandic officials said. 19-Sep-09.
Britain could be forced to bail out one or more of its offshore tax havens at huge cost, according to early drafts of a Treasury report, because the economic crisis has wrecked their finances. . .
The Isle of Man is facing problems associated with the collapse of Icelandic bank, Kaupthing, which had a business on the island. It may be forced to spend hundreds of millions of pounds to compensate savers who have been unable to claw cash back from Kaupthing.
Guernsey could also face similar issues after the collapse of a Channel Island subsidiary of Landsbanki.
Britain has imposed direct rule and suspended the government of the Caribbean Turks & Caicos islands amid claims of systemic corruption there. 13-Sep-09.
The Jersey States Assembly is expected to give final approval to a draft depositor compensation scheme (DCS) on 20 October.
Implementation could follow within weeks, according to sources familiar with the situation.
As previously reported by IA, the States Assembly approved the DCS plan in principle in July. It then went to a government scrutiny panel, where it is understood some proposed changes, thought not to be of a substantive nature, were to have been discussed by a panel of experts. . .
Although details of how the DCS would be funded under the version currently being considered are not known, it is believed that the monies would be collected from the island’s banks only if a problem arose that triggered the scheme, and that there may be a cap on the amount that banks would be asked to contribute in any one year.
Among the issues the scrutiny panel are said to be addressing are the speed with which the scheme would pay out in the event of a bank failure, and whether the group charged with managing the scheme in the event it were to be triggered should be chosen in advance. International Adviser website - 09-Sep-09.