Auditors don’t know the meaning of ‘competition’ [FT]
In a letter to the Financial Times, David Herbinet, the UK Head of Public Interest Markets for Mazars, takes issue with the notion (he says ‘puzzled’) that there is robust competition in the audit market, “Figures calculated from the most authoritative research available – the Oxera report that first spurred examination of the issue – show that a FTSE 100 auditor can on average expect to remain in place for an eye-watering 48 years and their FTSE 250 counterpart for 36 years. When the research was conducted more than 70 per cent of the FTSE 100 audits had not been subject to tender for at over, 97 per cent of current FTSE 350 audits are held by just four firms. If this represents fierce competition I would not like to see a stagnant market.”
Facebook Said to Put Off IPO Until 2012 to Buy Time for Growth [Bloomberg]
“Facebook Inc. will probably put off its initial public offering until 2012, giving Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg more time to gain users and boost sales, three people familiar with the matter said.
Facebook would benefit from another year of growth absent the added scrutiny that comes with a public listing, instead of holding an IPO in 2011 as investors speculated, said the people, who asked not to be identified because Facebook doesn’t discuss share-sale plans. Still, Zuckerberg, who holds board control, could push for a stock sale at any time, they said.”
U.S. Financial System Still at Risk, Says IMF [WSJ]
Get RIGHT out of town. “The International Monetary Fund says the U.S. financial system is “slowly recovering,” but remains vulnerable to crisis, in part because Congress and the administration have failed to streamline a regulatory system marked by turf battles and overlapping responsibilities.
‘We asked many times why bolder action could not be undertaken,’ said the IMF’s Christopher Towe, who oversaw the agency’s first broad review of the U.S. financial sector.”
SEC Charges Citigroup and Two Executives for Misleading Investors About Exposure to Subprime Mortgage Assets [SEC]
That includes former CFO Gary Crittenden who agreed to pay a $100,000 fine.
Colbert on the Expiration of the Bush Tax Cuts [TaxProf]
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Sachdeva to plead guilty to six felonies in Koss case [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]
Late on Friday, it was reported that Sue Sachdeva will plead guilty to six felon embezzlement case that was discovered at the end of last year.
The agreement with prosecutors brought some new things to light including that the scam began in 1997 and she issue over 500 cashiers cheques, including $10 million to American Express but also to charitable groups.
Also: “From February 2008 to December 2009, she authorized 206 wire transfers totaling $16 million from Koss accounts to American Express to cover items she bought with the credit card.
From February 2008 to December 2009, she authorized 206 wire transfers totaling $16 million from Koss accounts to American Express to cover items she bought with the credit card.
•?Koss employees worked “in concert with Sachdeva or at her direction” to make fraudulent entries to the company’s books to conceal the embezzlement. “These entries would falsely overstate assets, understate liabilities, understate sales, overstate cost of sales, and overstate expenses,” the agreement said. The agreement notes that the false entries “concealed the actual receipts and profitability of Koss,” allowing the scheme to continue.
•?To keep auditors off her track, Sachdeva did not fraudulently take money from Koss accounts at Park Bank during the month of June, because transactions during that month were reviewed by outside accountants.”
A.I.G. to Pay $725 Million in Ohio Case [NYT]
“The American International Group, once the nation’s largest insurance group before it nearly collapsed in 2008, has agreed to pay $725 million to three Ohio pension funds to settle six-year-old claims of accounting fraud, stock manipulation and bid-rigging.
Taken together with earlier settlements, A.I.G. will ladle out more than $1 billion to Ohio investors, money that will go to firefighters, teachers, librarians and other pensioners. The state’s attorney general, Richard Cordray, said Friday, that it was the 10th largest securities class-action settlement in United States history.”
Goldman’s Grand Delusions Finally Hit Reality [Jonathan Weil/Bloomberg]
“Here’s the real beauty of the SEC’s settlement agreement [last week] with Goldman Sachs. The next time Goldman Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein goes on television and is asked by some reporter if Goldman committed securities fraud, as the SEC alleged, he won’t be allowed to say no.
He won’t be able to repeat any of the factually improbable denials Goldman issued just three months ago after the SEC sued it for ripping off a hapless German bank named IKB as part of a bond deal called Abacus 2007-AC1. He’ll just have to suck it up and take the hit. It’s “the right outcome for our firm, our shareholders and our clients,” as Goldman said in a press release after the settlement was disclosed.
More incredibly, the SEC even got Goldman to admit it made “a mistake,” which might be the strangest thing ever to happen on Wall Street. Next thing you know, Blankfein will grow wings for his trip to the heavens, and Goldman will surrender its charter as a bank-holding company to become a nonprofit center for religious studies.”
IMF Pulls Out of Hungary Loan Talks [WSJ]
“Negotiators for the International Monetary Fund and European Union walked away from talks with Hungary over the weekend, saying Budapest needs to do more to shrink its budget deficit before it can get any more bailout money.
The move is likely to alarm markets already suspicious of the new populist government’s pledges to cut spending.
After nearly two weeks of meetings with senior Hungarian officials, the IMF and EU teams on Saturday called an abrupt halt to the discussions. They said Hungary couldn’t have access—for now, at least—to the remaining funds in a 20 billion euro ($25.9 billion) loan package secured in late 2008 to rescue the country from a financial meltdown.”
PricewaterhouseCoopers accountants split to form new firm [Salt Lake City Tribune]
Three PwC “accountants” (presumably partners/directors), Gil Miller, David Bateman and John Curtis have left the Salt Lake City office to form their own firm, Rock Mountain Advisory, LLC. The newly formed company will specialize in ” bankruptcy/restructuring, dispute analysis/receiverships, forensic accounting/due diligence, turnaround and business valuation.”
According to the Mr Miller, the trio formed their own business primarily because so many clients were being turned away from PwC due to “conflicts of interest.”