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Accounting News Roundup: KPMG Is First to Go Local in China; The Standard Plot Thickens; Romney “Paid No Taxes” Scenarios | 08.08.12

Chinese Accounting Earns Tough Stance [WSJ]
[A] long-simmering dispute between China and the U.S. over how to insure companies are properly audited is reaching a critical juncture. At issue is China's refusal to allow U.S. regulators to inspect Chinese audit firms that do work for U.S.-listed companies. Given the problems at Chinese companies, increased oversight is more necessary than ever. The danger is that the U.S. feels compelled to compromise for larger geopolitical reasons, leaving investors at risk. The issue took on added urgency last week when the Chinese affiliate of Big Four accounting firm KPMG converted from a joint venture with the international firm to a local business with a majority of Chinese partners. The change was mandated by China's securities regulator—most of the rest of the Big 4 will follow suit in coming months.

Standard Chartered Probe Said To Require Up To $700 Mln [Bloomberg]
Standard Chartered Plc might be asked to pay as much as $700 million to resolve money-laundering allegations filed by New York’s banking superintendent after his department grew impatient with inaction by federal regulators, a person familiar with the case said. Benjamin Lawsky, who heads up New York’s Department of Financial Services, tried unsuccessfully a few months ago to get U.S. regulators to punish the London-based bank for conduct involving disguised Iranian money transfers, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the matter is confidential. The transfers have been under investigation by federal agencies for more than two years, according to Lawsky’s Aug. 6 order.

US Regulators Irate at NY Action Against Stanchart [Reuters]
The U.S. Treasury Department and Federal Reserve were blindsided and angered by New York's banking regulator's decision to launch an explosive attack on Standard Chartered over $250 billion in alleged money laundering transactions tied to Iran, sources familiar with the situation said. By going it alone through the order he issued on Monday, Benjamin Lawsky, head of the recently created New York State Department of Financial Services, also complicates talks between the Treasury and London-based Standard Chartered to settle claims over the transactions, several of the sources said. Lawsky's stunning move, which included releasing embarrassing communications and details of the bank's alleged defiance of U.S. sanctions against Iran, is rewriting the playbook on how foreign banks settle cases involving the processing of shadowy funds tied to sanctioned countries. In the past, such cases have usually been settled through negotiation – with public shaming kept to a minimum.
Here's How Mitt Romney Might Have Paid No Taxes [U.S. News]
"I wouldn't be surprised if he paid nearly zero taxes in 2008 and 2009," says Brad Badertscher, an accounting professor at the University of Notre Dame. "It's going to look bad no matter what he does."

Sarbanes-Oxley, Ten Years After — Are We Having Fun Yet? [Re:Balance]
Now that the confetti has settled, Jim Peterson reminds us that the party was for a lame idea. 

Jacqueline Akerblom to lead Grant Thornton’s Southern California Practice [GT]
It appears the dynamic buzz has infected the little Chips: "We are excited to have Jacqueline return to Southern California to lead the practice,” said Joel Anik, Grant Thornton’s West Region Managing Partner. “Her vast international experience coupled with her career long focus on serving dynamic organizations will provide the leadership platform to grow our client base and ensure distinctive service at all levels.”

741 Tax Returns Filed From Single Florida Address, IRS Sent Back Over $1 Million In Refunds [HP]
I'm sure it's fine.

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