The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board today announced a cooperative agreement with the Financial Supervisory Authority of Norway for the oversight of audit work performed by public accounting firms that practice in the two regulators’ respective jurisdictions. “With this agreement, Norway’s FSA and the PCAOB are joining forces to improve audit quality and protect investors,” said PCAOB Chairman James R. Doty. “I am pleased that the PCAOB is continuing to make progress in overcoming the obstacles that have in the past prevented PCAOB inspections in Europe.” [PCAOB]
As you probably remember, Countrywide Financial once owned a lot of shitty mortgages. This wasn’t clear to many of the company’s investors so when the things turned sour, lots of those investors lost boatloads of money and then Bank of America came in to pick up the scraps. KPMG was the auditor of Countrywide and the shareholders sued both companies because, gosh, that’s basically what happens when a bunch of money is lost for no good reason and you had a front row seat for the action. Accordingly, the two firms settled with CTW shareholders last year for $624 million. KPMG, for its part, chipped in $24 million. That’s rumored to be in the ballpark of what John Veihmeyer spends every year on Notre Dame gear, so the firm was probably thinking it got off pretty easy. Unfortunately, things are just getting started since other countries hadn’t had a chance to jump into the mix.
From Zero Hedge:
Norway’s Government Pension Fund, which is another name for its Sovereign Wealth Fund, has just announced it is suing Bank of America for mortgage fraud. Not only that but it is also going after Countrywide, obviously, but far more importantly, is also suing KPGM [sic], the auditor on the Countrywide transaction, and, drumroll, ole’ Agent Orange himself [That’s former Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo for those of you not up to speed].
So what, you say? Norway is just some Scandinavian wasteland with a lot of blondes and the occasional psychopath? Not the point!
[J]ust like the US lawsuit spigot opened ever so slowly at first, it is now gushing, and is absolutely certain that every company (ahem insolvent German banks) that ever bought a mortgage from Countrywide, Merrill and Bank of America will serve the local branch of the bank with a summons over the next month.
In other words, this little breakout may turn into a full-fledged epidemic.
Bank Of America’s Legal Woes Go Global After Norway’s Sovereign Wealth Fund Sues For Mortgage Fraud [ZH]
The Fund suing large bank in the U.S. for fraud [DN.NO (Beware, the translation is brutal)]
You may remember way back in January when we told you about Ernst & Young’s Jericho office putting the clamps down on its water closets. The long/short of it was that the firm made them only accessible by key like some flithy gas station shithouse.
As bad as that is, some businesses in Norway are taking things a bit further:
A boss in Norway has ordered all female staff to wear red bracelets during their periods – to explain why they are using the toilet more often.
The astonishing demand was revealed in report by a workers’ union into ‘tyrannical’ toilet rules in Norwegian companies. The study claimed businesses were becoming obsessed with lost productivity due to employees spending too much time answering the call of nature. It found 66 per cent of managers made staff ask them for an electronic key card to gain access to the toilets so they could monitor breaks. Toilets in one in three companies were placed under video-surveillance, while other firms made staff sign a toilet ‘visitors book’, the report by the Parat union said. It added: ‘But the most extreme action was taken by one manager who made women having their period wear a red bracelet to justify more frequent trips to the loo. ‘Women quite justifiably feel humiliated by being tagged in this way, so that all their colleagues are aware of this intimate detail of their private life.’
Now we don’t know if the key system is still in place in Jericho (residents can let us know) but this should give you pause.