Switzerland

EY Switzerland Managing Partner Accused of Sexual Harassment Has Been Relieved of His Duties

The outside investigation into accusations of sexual harassment at EY Switzerland has been completed, and the accused harasser, a male managing partner who also served as the firm’s chief talent officer, has been shown the door. But according to published reports in Switzerland and confirmed to Going Concern by several sources, the law firm engaged […]

Marcel Stalder Is Out as CEO of EY Switzerland

A couple weeks ago, we got an email from a tipster who told us that EY Switzerland CEO Marcel Stalder was “dead meat” due to the firm’s handling of sexual harassment allegations made against a male managing partner by a former female associate. Well, turns out this person was right; Stalder has stepped down as […]

Here Is More Proof That EY Switzerland Is a Total Frat House

Well, guys, we learned today that at an EY Switzerland holiday party a few years ago, Santa Claus got an erotic lap dance on stage in front of about 200 people. And the man dressed like jolly ol’ Saint Nick is a partner in the firm’s banking practice, and the woman grinding on his lap […]

EY Switzerland Suspends Chief Talent Officer Accused of Sexual Harassment

The chief talent officer at EY Switzerland was suspended by the firm today pending an independent investigation into sexual harassment allegations made by a former EY female associate, who claims the male executive made inappropriate comments about her breasts, made sexual advances toward her, and then bullied her when she rejected him, according to published […]

DOJ Curious to Know if Credit Suisse Pulled a UBS

That is, helped American clients stash money offshore.

Credit Suisse said Friday it had been notified that it was the object of an investigation by the United States Department of Justice, citing “a broader industry inquiry.” The Swiss bank said that it had previously received subpoenas and other information requests from the Justice Department and other government agencies regarding cross-border services that its private banking arm provided to American clients.

As you may recall, the situation for UBS didn’t turn out so well and they sorta went back on that whole “secrecy” thing. Unfortch for Credit Suisse, they’ll probably have to snitch too:

On Friday, a court in Lausanne upheld the Swiss government decision to force UBS to hand over client data, citing “virtually uncontrollable economic repercussions for Switzerland” if it had not done so. That decision implies that Credit Suisse, too, may be ordered to surrender information about customers’ accounts to American authorities.

Credit Suisse Discloses U.S. Inquiry Into Private Banking [DealBook]
Earlier: DOJ: You Bet Your A$$ We’re Going After More Offshore Tax Evaders

Swiss Village Insists Law That Allows for Killing of Dogs for Unpaid Tax ‘Isn’t About a Mass Execution of Dogs’

Someone call the State Department and cut off all ties with the Toblerone cobblers until this get rectified.

Reconvilier — population 2,245 humans, 280 dogs — plans to put fido on notice if its owner doesn’t pay the annual $50 tax. Local official Pierre-Alain Nemitz says the move is part of an effort to reclaim hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid taxes.

Why, you ask? Apparently because the town had exhausted all other possible methods of collection back before World War I and there’s no point in trying anything else.

He says a law from 1904 allows the village to kill dogs if its owner does not pay the canine charge. Nemitz told the AP on Monday that authorities have received death threats since news of the plan got out. “This isn’t about a mass execution of dogs,” Nemitz said. “It’s meant to put pressure on people who don’t cooperate.”

Swiss village: pay your dog tax or fido gets it [MSNBC]

Accounting News Roundup: UK Launches Probe of E&Y’s Final Lehman Audit; Revolving Door at SEC Scrutinized; Swiss Upper House Rejects Referendum | 06.16.10

UK watchdog launches Lehman audit probe [Reuters]
The UK’s Accountancy and Actuarial Discipline Board (AADB), investigative and disciplinary body for accountants, has started an investigation into the Ernst & Young’s final audit of Lehman Brothers’ UK operations for the year ending November 30, 2007.

E&Y, completely familiar with this drill, is sticking to their guns, “Ernst & Young’s audit opinion stated that Lehman’s financial statements for that year were fairly presented in accordance with the relevant accounting standards, and we remain of that view.”


SEC ‘Revolving Door’ Under Review [WSJ]
Currently, the SEC does not have a cooling off period for former staffers that take a position with a private firm. Former staffers (i.e. lower-level employees) need only to provide a written letter disclosing the fact that they will be representing their new employer in an investigation.

The Journal reports that Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) announced on Tuesday that an investigation into the practice had recently been launched by the Inspector General David Kotz, “[W]e are currently conducting an investigation of allegations very recently brought to our attention that a prominent law firm’s significant ties with the SEC, specifically, the prevalence of SEC attorneys leaving the agency to join this particular law firm, led to the SEC’s failure to take appropriate actions in a matter involving the law firm,” Mr Kotz said.

The Journal reports that law firm in question “could not be determined.”

There have been several instances of quick transitions of former Commission staffers to new representing their new firms, including the most recent example of an attorney leaving the Division of Trading and Markets for the Chicago-based high frequency trading firm Getco, LLC and an accountant from the enforcement division who represented his new employer in a nonpublic investigation.

IRS hatches new assault on ‘Survivor’ [Tax Watchdog]
Thanks reality TV gods, Richard Hatch is still in our lives. He still owes $1.7 million in taxes from 2000 and 2001.

The CAE’s real challenge – ethics, courage, and complacency [IIA/Marks on Governance]
Norman Marks responds to a commenter that believes that a Chief Audit Executive need not focus on auditing and communicating those results and risks but instead “be conscious of and responsive to management expectations,” and basically substantiate that internal audit isn’t a giant waste of money.

Mr Marks questions this notion in its entirety, “It’s fine to supplement essential assurance activities with the tangible value-adding programs…But, the assurance work has to be covered or (in my opinion) internal audit is failing to do its job. When that is a conscious decision, I have to question the ethics – and the courage – of the individuals involved.”

Swiss Upper House Rejects Call for Referendum on UBS Pact [WSJ]
The upper house in Swiss Parliament would like their counterparts in the lower house to leave their popular referendum idea wherever they found it. Presumably everyone understands that super secret Swiss banking as the world knows it is over and lower house is a little slow to catch on. They’re supposedly debating the referendum circa now.

Class Action Complaint against Amedisys uses Sarbanes-Oxley Act Corporate Governance Provisions to Battle Alleged Corporate Malfeasance [White Collar Fraud]
Amedisys got caught red-handed by the Wall St. Journal abusing the Medicare system and Sam Antar hopes that this is a sign of things to come:

The SEC rules under Sarbanes-Oxley for public company codes of ethics broadly define corporate malfeasance by senior financial officers, requires such companies to promptly report any misconduct, prohibits companies from ignoring any misconduct, and makes it relatively easy for investors to sue for misconduct.

Hopefully, more lawsuits will cite code of ethics violations by public company senior financial officers in the future.

Accounting News Roundup: UBS Deal Back on Track; Allen Stanford’s Circus Causes Problems for Co-Defendants; Zynga Lands $147 Million | 06.15.10

Swiss Parliament Backs UBS Pact [WSJ]
After telling U.S. and IRS to drop dead last week, the lower House of Swiss Parliament has approved the deal to turn over 4,450 names as part of UBS’ settlement involving their assistance to taxpayers in the U.S. evade their obligations through offshore accounts.

There’s one small problem remaining – the lower house wants to put the agreement to a popular referendum while the upper house in parliament is opposed to the idea. The two have until Friday to reconcile their differences, otherwise another vote will be necessary to settle the referendum issue.

The problem with the referendum is that it could take months for happen and it could cause the Swiss to miss the August deadline that it agreed to. This could lead to fresh charges against UBS and further extending a story that pretty much everyone has grown tired of.


Stanford’s Co-Defendants Try to Flee the ‘Circus’ [DealBook]
Stanford’s Chief Investment Officer, Chief Accounting Officer and Controller are all attempting to sever themselves from Al’s proceedings because he’s an absolute drama whore.

Former CIO Laura Pendergest-Holt’s motion to have her trial severed describes RAS’ conduct as ‘egregious and circus-like conduct,’ using the term “circus” at least eight times.

So while a circus is infinitely fun for the rest of us, it doesn’t really do co-conspirators any good when they are trying to get a fair trial.

Dealing With a Toxic Resumé [FINS]
How can you move past a job with a tax company like Stanford, Countrywide, Bear Stearns et al.? You might just want to GIVE UP (and that could be advisable if you were a perp) but there are some things you can do to wash away that taint on your resumé.

For starters don’t bad mouth the old company, even though they probably deserve it. Secondly, you might attach an addendum to your resumé in order to explain the whole sitch and you can always turn the situation into a positive by explaining how you’ve learned from working at such a lousy company.

Keep your chin up, you’ll be back to being a white collar working stiff in no time.

Duke boy dodges tax hazard [Tax Watchdog]
John Schneider, aka Bo Duke, and his wife owe California about $28,000 in back taxes. Turns out his old accountant left him ‘high and dry’ so he’s working it out with Arnie.

Zynga Receives $147 Million Investment From Japan’s Softbank [Bloomberg BusinessWeek]
Memo to Farmville Haters: it’s here to stay and there will be more to come.

Accounting News Roundup: UBS Deal Hits a Snag; More Clifton Gunderson M&A Activity; Governance Prep Is Big Hurdle for Companies Going Public | 06.08.10

Primaries to Watch From Coast to Coast [WSJ]
There are eleven states that have primaries going on out there today so get out there and pull the lever for someone.

Swiss-US deal on UBS delayed by lower house snub [Reuters]
UBS still owes the IRS 4,450 names of clients as part of the deal that the U.S. reached with Switzerland re: tax evaders with UBS accounts. Small problem – the deal is hung up in Switzerland’s parliament, after the lower house of Switzerland’s parliament rejected it.

Why is this political jockeying even happening? Since the name naming is a big no-no in Swiss secrecy law, the parliamentary approval became necessary after a Swiss court blocked the transfer of the information in January. The names for retracted smackdown has an August deadline but if it is not met, the Swiss risk the the launch of a new tax case against UBS by the United States.


Clifton Gunderson Merges With St. Louis’ Humes & Barrington [Clifton Gunderson]
Clifton Gunderson has obtained St. Louis-based Humes & Barrington, in an deal effective June 1. The H&B staff of 53 will join the 7 partners in adding to the 1,900 professionals at CG. This acquisition was in addition to the purchase of Stockton Bates that we mentioned last week as well as the purchase of BKD’s Merrillville, IL location.

Corporate Governance is Top Challenge for Companies Considering an IPO, KPMG Survey Series Finds [KPMG PR]
Improving governance is biggest challenge as 64% of the companies surveyed looking to make a public offering listed it as a top challenge along with developing a robust business plan (40%) and preparation of financial track record (36%).

Jefferson Wells aligns with Baker Tilly Mexico [Milwaukee Business Journal]
Milwaukee-based Jefferson Wells has aligned with Baker Tilly Mexico to expand its operations in that country and the the Central America region. This marks the fifth expansion for JW in twelve months and is the first into Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.

Are the Big 4 Laying Low at the World Economic Forum?

The World Economic Forum kicks off tomorrow and as expected, the Big 4 bigwigs will be there in full force.

Having been through their share of busy seasons, the fearless four of Jim squared, Dennis, and Tim are no doubt glad to be on this getaway.

Their hearts and minds never stray too far from all of you serving the capital markets back at home but it is a great opportunity for them to explore the land of secretive banking, blondes and Toblerones. Plus, there are some meetings and whatnot where they spread their wisdom amongst the other grand poobahs of the world.


Despite the presence of the Fab Four, Big Four Blog points out that the firms’ websites don’t hardly make a mention of their participation at the rager in Davos:

[We] could find hardly a mention of this on the firm’s websites, contrary to prior years when a press release would proudly proclaim their participation. Are the Big Four firms keeping a low profile this year? We wonder why?

Why would they possibly want to keep their profiles on the DL? Are they taking their cues from the Times? Are they still amped/disappointed by the Fortune results?

Are they nervous about their next sit down with CNN, who may not leave it there this time? Ideas? Hopefully they’ll loosen up and enjoy themselves.