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You may remember that the Big 4 have BIG plans to go on a hiring binge here in the States and around the globe over the next few years. Just last year, Deloitte announced that they were adding 250,000 new employees over the next five years (although we were a bit skeptical as to what the final numbers would actually shake out). The latest in job creation PR, comes from PwC who has announced that they will be adding 15,000 new professionals in Hong Kong and China:
Accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers plans to hire 15,000 graduates and experienced professionals over the next five years in China and Hong Kong, it said Tuesday, as it capitalizes on growing business opportunities in the region, particularly mainland China.
The Big-Four firm said the new hires will be “across all lines of service,” adding it hopes to recruit more than 2,000 university graduates in the coming months in Hong Kong and China. The company is conducting campus recruitment in Hong Kong and three mainland Chinese cities this month.
Adding to this glowing news was Fitch Rating’s vote of confidence in the Big 4 who “should inspire confidence in terms of corporate governance” in Chinese companies. Right. Because it’s been clockwork so far.
~ Updated includes statement from Grant Thornton International in final paragraph.
The South China Morning Post is reporting that former Grant Thornton partner, Gabriel Azedo was arrested in Spain, citing “people with knowledge of his detention.”
Gaby was on the lam for over year and has allegedly stolen HK$91 million (around USD$11.7 million) from those close to him, although one of his alleged victims doesn’t see this as a half glass full situation:
Yesterday one of his alleged creditors, racehorse owner Archie da Silva, said: “I don’t know whether to be happy or not. Just because he has been arrested doesn’t mean we will get our money back. It could be a very tedious process to get him back to Hong Kong.”
Arch’s concerns about bureaucratic nightmare that is extradition seem to be well-founded, as the article explains that getting Gaby back to Hong Kong really isn’t going to be easy:
“There is no bilateral agreement between Hong Kong and Spain but a transfer under multilateral treaties the two jurisdictions are signatories to, or under provisions in Spanish domestic law, are two areas that can be looked at,” the person said.
However, it is likely extradition could involve a lengthy legal and diplomatic process because Hong Kong has no Surrender of Fugitive Offenders Agreement with Spain.
Another officer linked to the case said: “It’s really up to Spanish authorities to decide whether to hand over the man to us. They could ignore our request as there is no legal obligation for them to hand over Azedo.”
We contacted Grant Thornton International to see if they wanted to comment but have yet to hear back. It goes without saying that this story is pretty strange/intriguing so, we’ll continue to follow the developments.
UPDATE, circa 10:45 am ET: A Grant Thornton International spokeswoman provided us with the following statement regarding the matter:
“We understand from media reports that Gabriel Azedo has been arrested in Spain and that he may be the subject of extradition proceedings to Hong Kong. He was a member of the global leadership board of Grant Thornton International until his dismissal in October 2009. Immediately following his disappearance, Ms. Angela Gardner, a close relative of Mr. Azedo, filed a lawsuit in Hong Kong against Grant Thornton International Ltd but this was subsequently dismissed by the Hong Kong court.
While the situation is highly regrettable for the individuals concerned, this is now a matter for them and for the Hong Kong courts.”
The Wall St. Journal’s China Real Time Report stumbled upon the BDO/Grant Thornton
poaching exodus merger situation (some may say, “clusterfuck”) in Hong Kong and we have no choice but to take issue with it.