European Views | Accountancy giants KPMG are set to pay €44 million in fines to settle allegations by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that the audit firm, one of the so-called Big Four, inappropriately altered already-complete audits. KPMG is accused of illegally obtaining information that several of their clients were in line for investigation by an American non-profit in charge of overseeing the audits of public companies—and then subsequently doctoring records to conceal transgressions.
Six individuals (including three ex-KPMG partners) have been prosecuted; five have either plead or been found guilty. Worse still, the investigations have uncovered evidence of further wrongdoing by KPMG—its auditors apparently cheated on ethics tests by sharing answers amongst themselves, and even manipulated the exam mechanism to allow colleagues to pass with a score as low as 25%. Sadly, such skulduggery is par for the course when it