(Reuters) – KPMG issued a "false" defense when it tried to reduce the fine for its conflict of interest during the sale of British bedmaker Silentnight in 2011, the UK's accounting officer said on Wednesday.
KPMG, one of the world's so – called Big Four accounting firms, turned out to have a conflict of interest when it acted as advisor to both Silentnight and the US private equity firm HIG Capital, which had tried to buy the British firm.
I In August, the Financial Reporting Council said it fined KPMG 13 million pounds ($ 17.7 million), the highest for an accounting firm in a non-audit case, while partner David Costley-Wood was fined 500,000 pounds.
At an independent tribunal in June, KPMG had demanded a fine of up to £ 5 million.
On Wednesday, the FRC published the board's report on how it determined the level of fines and the case in general.
"For the first time, the board has kept tha take the defendant pointed out a false defense," the FRC said in a statement.
The FRC had claimed that Costley-Wood, who no longer works at KPMG, helped with a "burning platform "strategy to drive Silentnight into an insolvency process to help HIG acquire the company without the burden of pension liabilities.
" We believe that the defense Costley-Wood put forward in relation to the burning platform was a construction he invented to help with his defense, "the board said.
Mr Costley-Wood had no comment, said his law firm Linklaters.
The FRC said the respondents had the right to defend themselves but said to promote a defense that one respondent knew that untruth risked undermining the regulations and exacerbating the original shortcomings. [1
"We no longer provide insolvency services and we have significantly improved our broader controls and processes since this work was carried out in 2010," said KPMG UK CEO Jon Holt in a statement.
KPMG will carefully reflect on the Court's findings lessons learned, said Holt.
KPMG is also being investigated by the FRC for its role in the audit, the builder Carillion collapsed, and any fines from this case would probably also be substantial.