Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Australian Government rewards KPMG chief who oversaw 1MDB audit with country's highest tax job: Michael Andrews is now chairman of the Board Of Taxation

by Ganesh Sahathevan I

While this is old ,it is worth mentioning now given that the !MDB theft is now a criminal matter being investigated by the FBI:

12 December 2014

Appointments to the Board of Taxation

The Government is pleased to announce four new appointments to the Board of Taxation. Mr Michael Andrew has been appointed as Chair with Mrs Peggy Lau Flux, Mr Mark Pizzacalla and Mr Craig Yaxley appointed as members of the Board.
The Board of Taxation consists of up to 10 members and is a non-statutory advisory body charged with contributing a business and broader community perspective in improving the design of taxation laws and their operation.
Mr Michael Andrew brings a deep understanding of the business community and tax law from his time as Chairman and CEO of KPMG International from May 2011 to July 2014 and Chairman of KPMG Australia from 2007 to 2011.  He is currently the Co-Chair of the Australian B20 Working group on Anti-Corruption and Transparency.

According to Sarawak Report:



KPMG International being "EnRoned"? : Fallout from Malaysia's 1 MDB scandal may cost KPMG USD 10 billion

A new verb, "Enron-ed" was coined by John M. Cunningham, the former Arthur Andersen Director in the Seattle Office, to describe the demise of Arthur Andersen.

KPMG International ,the Swiss Cooperative under which KPMG partnerships worldwide come together to offer audit and other services under the direction of a Global Executive Leadership Team,  has found itself entangled in Malaysia's 1 MDB sovereign wealth fund scandal. 

It appears that in managing the crisis it now faces, KPMG may be managing its 1 MDB documents in a manner similar to  Arthur Andersen and its  documents related to the  Enron assignment which led to the effective demise of that firm which was once considered the gold standard in auditing. 

The Sarawak Report website that has in recent weeks published 1 MDB emails that reveal gross financial impropriety,  recently published email correspondence between 1 MDB and its former auditor, the KPMG partnership in Malaysia,where KPMG has been shown to provide directions  on how 1 MDB's books should be 
re- presented in order to receive an unqualified audit opinion. 

1 MDB is now unable to repay its loans worth USD 10 billion and counting, and it is likely that the company will be liquidated, with its debts assumed by the Malaysian Government which has effectively guaranteed 1 MDB's borrowing.

KPMG International has been queried about its potential liability for the possible if not probable  civil and criminal claims arising from the 1 MDB scandal, and its general counsel Tom Whetered has insisted that the Cooperative offers no client services and has nothing to do with 1 MDB.

However that is a denial based on form for everything in substance says otherwise. To begin with, KPMG International counts as its revenue fees from the Malaysian partnership,and that will include fees from the 1 MDB assignment. In fact its  recently retired chairman , Michael Andrews,  identified Malaysia as a target market for growth when he took on that role.

Then the Singapore managing partner Sai Choy Tham, who is also a member of KPMG International's Global Executive Team , is also Regional Head of Audit, South East Asia.  Mr Tham has been queried about his communication with the KL office with regards the 1 MDB emails revealed by Sarawak Report,and has been asked specifically if communications in the past weeks has included directions about the management of 1 MDB documents. He has refused to confirm or deny that he has issued  directions in that regard, in his capacity as Regional Head Of Audit and member of the KPMG Global Executive Team.
The queries put to Mr Tham were also put to KPMG International chairman John Veihmeyer, who has also chosen to remain silent.

Meanwhile ,KPMG's  partners in Malaysia have , in response to the Sarawak Report expose, insisted that all they have done they have done in accordance with international accounting standards.
Each of the Big 4 has its own auditing procedures that are considered proprietary, and in insisting that the 1 MDB audit was executed in accordance with international standards the partners in Malaysia are really saying that they have acted in accordance with KPMG International's established norms and procedures. 
Put in another way, the Malaysian partners are insisting that they have acted  as directed by KPMG International, even as KPMG International seeks to distance itself from them.

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