Of all the individuals and firms tied up in the scandal over bribery and corruption at FIFA, scrutiny has so far largely escaped KPMG, the soccer association’s external auditor.
The accounting and consulting firm’s Swiss member is responsible not only for the audit of the multibillion-dollar umbrella FIFA organization, and has been since before the period under scrutiny by U.S. and Swiss prosecutors, but also audits a large sample of member associations around the world that receive FIFA funding on an annual basis. KPMG also prepares a compilation of all financial reports after the completion of each four-year World Cup cycle.
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KPMG was also the auditor and adviser for the official Russia and Qatar organizing committees when they prepared the winning bids that are now targeted in corruption investigations in the U.S. and Switzerland. KPMG continues to support Russia’s organizing committee, while Qatar switched to Ernst & Young in 2011.
A spokesman from KPMG declined to comment. “As FIFA’s statutory auditor, we are bound by professional confidentiality and have to refrain from any comment regarding our client.”
Robert Appleton, a former assistant United States attorney, a special investigations counsel with Paul Volcker’s U.N. Iraqi Oil for Food Commission Investigation and the former chief of the United Nations Anti-Corruption Task Force, said KPMG absolutely should have caught, and called out, these alleged illegal activities.
“There were sufficient red flags of improper and highly suspicious payments, as well as money transfers to and from officials and others, including other highly questionable activities coupled with a history of similar issues, that should have been identified and that should have caused the auditors to highlight and report on them internally, and recommend further investigation. This is especially the case in light of the recent history of this organization, where recent investigations already had found bribery and corruption activity,” Appleton said.
Though not a publicly traded company, FIFA is required by Swiss law to be audited by a qualified firm because of its size as measured by revenue and number of employees. KPMG Switzerland actually claims to be an expert in not-for-profit association audits in Switzerland, including sponsoring a “competence center” to share knowledge inside and outside the firm.
KPMG’s audit is intended to express an opinion on whether the financial statements, prepared by FIFA personnel according to International Financial Reporting Standards, are free from material misstatements. KPMG reviews the organization’s internal controls when deciding which audit procedures to perform but did not, in this case, express an opinion on the effectiveness of FIFA’s internal control system.
Jerry Silk, a partner at law firm Bernstein Litowitz Berger and Grossman who has represented investors in lawsuits against the global audit firms, said the country-level member associations that pay dues to belong to FIFA and participate in its programs and events are FIFA’s true stakeholders.
“Even though a few FIFA member associations were named in the indictment, the vast majority of the national associations and their executives are innocent of any wrongdoing. They have a fundamental right to know what KPMG did or did not do as auditor to protect their interests in the global association,” Silk said.
By Thomás Aengus O Cléirigh
So these Jokers KPMG, the special liquidators appointed by the Government to review the sale of Siteserv, have already received more than €70m in professional fees related to the liquidation of IBRC, the former Anglo Irish Bank.are now asked to investigate themselves ??? This is surely an absolute joke! These people cannot find matches in a matchbox for God sake people of Ireland can you not see or smell corruption from you doorsteps??????