The day my OpEd in the Financial Times was published, July 30, there were many other stories in other publications marking the occasion of Sarbanes-Oxley’s tenth anniversary. Most of them focused on the lack of prosecutions of CEOs and CFOs for false financial statement certification crimes.
The post below was originally published at Forbes.com on August 22, 2011. Given the SEC’s recent actions against Deloitte Shanghai regarding the firm’s unwillingness to provide audit workpapers for their former client Longtop, I thought it was helpful to make sure you saw it.
The SEC has accused one of the most prominent businessmen ever implicated in such crimes, Rajat Gupta, a former McKinsey & Company Global Managing Director, of insider trading. It’s understandable that, in the heat of this moment, some might naïvely compare the consequences of the criminal indictment of an audit firm with civil charges against an individual, albeit one who trades on – pun intended – his association with a prestigious professional services firm. It’s not the same thing.
New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo sued Ernst & Young over their involvement in the Lehman failure. EY was Lehman’s long time auditors and the firm is accused of “permitting Lehman to engage in an accounting fraud.” Hold on tight. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.