02 October 2009

Icelandic Police Raid KPMG and Price Waterhouse in Banking Frauds

There is serious fraud and criminal activity permeating the global banking industry. So far, few governments have taken serious action to expose the fraud and begin serious investigations, much less criminal indictments.

So far we have seen the occasional outsiders being thrown off the back of the sleigh for the wolves, but the serious insiders contine on, and in the case of the US, it's business as usual with bonuses back to record levels, and banks chasing trading profits using public monies.

Will some party, some group, rise up in the US to break the grip of the monied interests on government? It appears that it will not be coming from the Obama Administration, which is seriously compromised by conflicts of interest, and the Republicans which are the seed bed of corporate malfeasance and corruption.

The banks must be restrained, and the financial system reformed, and balance restored to the economy, before there can be any sustained recovery.

UK Telegraph
KPMG and PwC Reykjavik offices are raided by Icelandic police

By Rowena Mason
9:30PM BST 01 Oct 2009

Police have raided the offices of KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in Reykjavik, seizing documents and computer data as part of an investigation into alleged criminal activity at three collapsed Icelandic banks.

The targets of the raids were the firms' banking clients Kaupthing, Glitnir and Landsbanki, but the move is nevertheless likely to cause embarrassment for the two companies, both among the "big four" accountancy names in the world.

The Reykjavik branches of KPMG and PwC are owned by its partners, common with most accountancy practices, but are also part of the multinational network of firms.

The office of Olafur Thor Hauksson, the Icelandic investigator charged with examining the collapse of the three banks a year ago, confirmed that 22 policemen and six foreign accountants took part in the searches yesterday.

"The purpose of the searches was to look for and secure evidence related to the investigation of several charges which have been investigated by the office," a statement said.

Among the matters being investigated are "violation of laws on accounting and annual reports, violation of laws on financial institutions and securities transactions and violations of laws on public limited companies". PwC Iceland could not be reached for comment.

Sigurdur Jonsson, the chief executive of KPMG Iceland, told The Daily Telegraph that the raids related to some of his clients and that none of his staff had been questioned. He refused to comment further on the investigation.

Mr Jonsson has already become embroiled in controversy after it emerged that KPMG Iceland had been responsible for investigating events leading up to the collapse of Glitnir, despite the fact that his son was chief executive of the bank's largest shareholder. KPMG later resigned from the case.

The UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) agreed last month to send a team of investigators to Iceland to help "get to the bottom" of whether there were any criminal intentions in the country's collapsed banks, which had extensive links with London.

The Icelandic banks, which had large customer bases in the UK, failed last October, leaving 300,000 British savers unable to access their money and institutions nursing billions in losses. Following the crisis, the Treasury had to pay out £7.5bn to compensate UK savers, although £2.3bn of this will be repaid by Iceland over the next 15 years.

Allegations of fraud, embezzlement and market manipulation have been under investigation in Iceland since February. The SFO has separately been gathering intelligence on the Icelandic banking sector and its UK operations both involving investors and borrowers, which intensified after the leak of Kaupthing's loan book on to the internet last month.