A wrap-up of my writing in 2018 on three topics I’d been following that reached a climax last year — Theranos, FDIC v. PwC and KPMG/PCAOB inspection data theft— and three more where my reporting resulted in a legal or regulatory impact on the companies—ADT, Symantec, and IGC.
Looks like the Theranos investors decided that audits are worthless, even if the cost is some “immaterial to them” fraud losses.
Why did they do it? The WSJ walks around the question but KPMG may face big fines and, I think, its partners and the PCAOB professional could face criminal charges.
One area I am covering now at MarketWatch is market structure, specifically the equity markets. Reforming equity markets is a big ongoing issue, especially after the May 2010 flash crash. Here’s a summary of the articles, updated for a new one on February 3, I’ve written since May on the subject and some background on some of the many controversies.
Jim Doty’s term as chairman of the PCAOB, the audit regulator, expired in October. All summer since I arrived in Washington D.C., leading up to that date and since, there’s been speculation about whether or not SEC Chairwoman Mary Jo White would reappoint him to the job.
Bank regulators should start hiring the consultants that are responding to bank regulatory sanctions, consent decrees and NPA/DPA legal orders directly, and also strictly monitor them. It’s time to change for regulators to change their approach before another waste of time, money and public trust occurs.
May 18, 2015 was my first day on the job as a reporter for MarketWatch in Washington, DC, the sister online publication to the Wall Street Journal and Barrons that focuses on retail investors. Yes, I have taken a full-time journalism job and I have moved.
British MP Margaret Hodge grilled Kevin Nicholson, of PwC’s UK tax practice, in a Parliament Public Accounts Committee hearing on Monday. You know you’re on your “back foot” when the first thing out of your mouth has to be a denial that you lied under oath. More details about PwC’s tax avoidance scheme for audit client and US government owned AIG.
Update: The PCAOB is investigating PwC for its tax avoidance advice to Caterpillar, the Wall Street Journal is reporting. One down, more than 100+ PwC audit clients advised via Luxembourg to go…
The news that a tax consulting firm made up of ex-Andersen partners would take the Andersen name garnered much media attention, as you might expect. It says something—but maybe not what the firm’s partners think— that so many years after the destruction of Arthur Andersen by criminal indictment—thirteen years—so many people care.
Mark Leibovich’s “This Town” is billed in the flap copy of the dust jacket as “a blistering, stunning —and often hysterically funny— examination of our ruling class’s incestuous ‘media industrial complex.’” Does anyone still eat lunch with him? In the new 24-7 news cycle, the half-life of any criticism of DC culture is about three days.
A new KPMG tax shelter era document surfaced, in original format, that had not yet been cited or quoted from in any media reports. The document tells us that late in the negotiations, June 27, 2005 the DOJ still would not agree to all of KPMG’s terms, including promising not to criminally charge the firm. But the decision to make sure the firm did not “go under” had already been made. KPMG and its Skadden attorneys only had to make sure the DOJ didn’t, in a misguided show of sheer aggressiveness, cause another Arthur Andersen.