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Accounting News Roundup: Brits Dragging Out Big 4 Competition Probe; PwC Asks Clients to Skip a Flight; Joe Francis Sues BDO | 10.16.12

Britain extends accounting competition probe [Reuters]
Britain's anti-trust watchdog has extended its investigation into whether the country's biggest companies have enough choice of accountants to check their books, a delay that could hit plans for a European Union shake-up of the sector. The Competition Commission, which began the process almost a year ago and was due to publish provisional findings next month, has moved the deadline to January, with the final outcome due in August. A spokeswoman for the watchdog gave no reason, saying that investigation timetables are often revised.

Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit Resigns [WSJ]
KPMG still endures as auditor.

UBS Whistle-Blower’s Ex-Lawyers Seek Share of IRS Award [BBW]

A Washington law firm that worked for Bradley Birkenfeld, the former UBS AG (UBSN) banker who exposed how the Swiss lender helped Americans evade taxes, claims it’s owed $13 million of his $104 million whistle-blower award. Birkenfeld hired Schertler & Onorato LLP in 2006 to help him tell the U.S. how UBS used Swiss bank secrecy to cheat the Internal Revenue Service. Birkenfeld, now 47, told his story the next year to the IRS, the U.S. Justice Department, the U.S. Senate and the Securities and Exchange Commission. He agreed in October 2007 to pay the law firm 12.5 percent of any IRS whistle-blower award, according to court documents. Birkenfeld served 31 months in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy and was released on Aug. 1, six weeks before the IRS gave him the largest federal whistle-blower award for an individual. Birkenfeld had fired Schertler & Onorato in 2008, and his new law firm says the 12.5 percent accord is no longer binding.
China's Big Four banks rotate auditors [CAB]
See? It's not that hard!
Treasurers Worry Over Accounting for Money Fund Changes [CFOJ]

As Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner moved to reintroduce money market reforms last month, corporate treasurers who invest in the funds are focused on how structural changes might complicate accounting for them. Corporate treasurers are planning for various scenarios, but are getting stumped on accounting issues, Ronni Horillo, assistant treasurer at Google , said on a panel at the Association for Financial Professionals conference in Miami on Monday. “There isn’t a lot of consensus among the auditors on how they would treat any of these money market changes,” Horillo said.
PwC to call on clients to think before you fly [Business Green]

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) is to launch a campaign to try to encourage clients to avoid one in 10 business flights, as the company attempts to meet an ambitious new set of sustainability targets. The consultancy giant will formally launch the "one in 10 eco-delivery challenge" later this autumn in a move designed to encourage clients to think about whether some meetings that require business flights can be undertaken using video or web conferencing.
Joe Francis: My Ex-Accountant Screwed Me Over [TMZ]
The douche of the last decade claims BDO put him into illegal tax shelters, so he's suing them for $50 million.
Broadway Show Was Duped, Prosecutors Say [WSJ]

In one of the biggest fraud accusations in Broadway history, a former stockbroker was charged Monday with duping the producers of "Rebecca: The Musical" into believing he had secured $4.5 million from a group of overseas investors—all of whom he had invented, federal prosecutors said. Prosecutors alleged that Mark Hotton, a 46-year-old living on Long Island outside New York City, created four investors out of thin air, including an Australian named "Paul Abrams" who, in a fantastical twist, was said to have contracted malaria on what Mr. Hotton claimed was an African safari and died just as his wire transfer of funds was due. In return for lining up these alleged investors as well as a fake $1.1 million loan, the show's producers paid more than $60,000 to Mr. Hotton or entities he controlled, prosecutors said.

Police: Angry over stolen money, woman torches vending machine [KLTV]
Authorities say 43-year-old Debra Johnson was caught on camera showcasing her pyrotechnique skills on a surveillance camera positioned in front of a 7-Up vending machine outside a Piggly Wiggly. […] Gilbert Crary couldn't believe what he saw when he showed up at work, later that day.  "She went and got a newspaper, lit it on fire, and stuffed it inside the machine," Crary recalled. What made Johnson so mad that she had to take her frustration out on the vending machine? Well, turns out the darn thing wouldn't give her her drink nor would it give her her money back.  Store surveillance shows the woman kicking the machine. She lights the fire, then grabs a drink from another vending machine and walks away. 


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