SEC Administrative Judge Cameron Elliot issued a blistering decision last week in a long-running dispute over regulator access to auditor work papers in fraud investigations. The judge banned the Chinese Big Four firms from auditing US issuers for six months and lambasted them for voluntarily putting their firms “between a rock and a hard place.” The decision is not yet final but the enormous impact is already being felt worldwide.
I’ve been watching the developments for a while now between the global audit firms, their clients, the regulators on both sides, and investors – especially the shorts – who have been raising the issues of Chinese frauds. I’ve written quite a bit about these issue. If you’re playing catch up, this list of posts is a good place to start.
The Securities and Exchange Commission is rattling a dull sabre again towards Shanghai-based Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu CPA Ltd. for its refusal to provide the agency with audit work papers related to another China-based company under investigation for potential accounting fraud against U.S. investors. It looks to me like it’s personal rather than productive.