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January 27, 2023

Mazars and Armanino Just Abruptly Stopped Working For Crypto Clients

Bitcoin on Wall St

Two things to share today. First, Mazars has “paused” crypto work effective immediately. Reports WSJ:

Cryptocurrency-trading giant Binance said the accounting firm it uses to reassure customers that their money is safe has paused all of its work for crypto clients, and said the outflows from its platform had swelled to $6 billion.

Mazars, a midsize accounting firm that worked for former President Donald Trump’s company, published a “proof-of-reserves” report for Binance last week. As of Friday, Mazars had withdrawn that Binance report and similar ones for other cryptocurrency-trading companies from its website [Ed. note: that report can no longer be found on Mazar’s site].

A spokesman for the accounting firm said it had made the move “due to concerns regarding the way these reports are understood by the public.”

Only a handful of days ago, Mazars released an audit-but-not-really-an-audit of Binance that confirmed Binance had control over 575,742.42 in customer Bitcoin, worth $9.7 billion when Cointelegraph wrote the story up on December 7. “Binance was 101% collateralized,” Mazars said. Adding this disclaimer:

We make no representation regarding the appropriateness of the AUP [agreed-upon procedures]. This AUP engagement is not an assurance engagement. Accordingly, we do not express an opinion or an assurance conclusion. Had we performed additional procedures, other matters might have come to our attention that would have been reported.

Meanwhile, Forbes reported yesterday that Armanino is shuttering its crypto practice completely and firing clients:

Armanino is ending its crypto audit practice and dropping clients, two sources familiar with the matter say.

The unit may be folding under pressure from Armanino’s non-crypto clients, concerned that reputational risk to the firm will throw their audits into question, according to a source with knowledge of the firm’s crypto offerings. Last month, Armanino was named in a class-action lawsuit for failing to catch irregularities at FTX.US after performing the exchange’s audit last year. The suit was filed by Stephen Pierce, an FTX customer who allegedly lost $20,000.

Armanino did not respond to requests for comment.

This is an developing story, there appears to be more info coming. Stay tuned.

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