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Tag Archives: Europe – UK

After a String of Corporate Scandals & Collapses, “Big Four” Accounting Giants Face Breakup in the UK

UK regulators may be on the verge of doing something right, but doubts remain over how genuine their stated intentions are. By Don Quijones, Spain, UK, & Mexico, editor at WOLF STREET. Following a string of corporate scandals and collapses, the UK’s top accounting regulator, the Financial Reporting Council (FRC), has called for an inquiry to explore the possibility of breaking the audit arms of the Big Four accounting firms — KPMG, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, and Price...

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UK Vows to Crack Down on Money Laundering: What Will This Do to the Property Bubble?

The London property market is already in trouble. By Don Quijones, Spain, UK, & Mexico, editor at WOLF STREET. The British government has suddenly realized that the London property market is “becoming” a “destination of choice” for laundering the proceeds of overseas crime and corruption. And it has done what it always tends to do in delicate situations: it has called an inquiry into the matter. “Given the threats that face the UK, the effectiveness of the regimes that we use to...

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Was Carillion’s Collapse the Beginning of the End for UK’s Outsourcing Sector?

Two large British outsourcers are also on the verge of collapse, and the vultures are circling. By Don Quijones, Spain, UK, & Mexico, editor at WOLF STREET. Two large British outsourcers are at risk of following in the doomed footsteps of Carillion, the infrastructure and services giant that collapsed in free-fall fashion in January. Between them the two firms, Capita and Interserve, employ roughly 150,000 workers worldwide and are responsible for delivering a dizzying array of...

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“It’s Not only Carillion that’s Built on Sand, it’s our Whole System of Corporate Accountability”

The construction & services giant collapsed even as KPMG signed off on its financial statements; now they deny any responsibility. By Don Quijones, Spain, UK, & Mexico, editor at WOLF STREET. The Big Four accountancy firms — PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & Young, KPMG, and Deloitte — reported combined annual revenues of $134 billion in 2017. In the global audit arena, they are virtually unassailable. In the US, the Big Four audit 497 of the S&P 500 companies. In the UK,...

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RBS Forgery Scandal Metastasizes Days before Crucial Earnings Report

The bailed-out megabank hasn’t had a year in the black since 2007. By Don Quijones, Spain, UK, & Mexico, editor at WOLF STREET. Two weeks ago, UK mega-lender Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) was accused by whistle-blowers of systematically forging customer signatures — that it had indeed trained staff to forge customers’ signatures — which elicited furious denials from senior management. But as we warned at the time, if irrefutable evidence emerges of forged documents, not only will...

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Another Big British Bank Lands in Deep Trouble

Barclays faces a criminal trial in the UK. Last week it was RBS.  By Don Quijones, Spain, UK, & Mexico, editor at WOLF STREET. Now, it’s the UK’s second-largest bank Barclays’ turn to face the music. A week ago, it was the UK’s third-largest bank, state-owned Royal Bank of Scotland, that faced one of its biggest scandal yet after whistle-blowers accused the bank of systematically forging customer signatures. RBS also faces the prospect of a multi-billion dollar fine for the way it...

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Nuclear Follies in the UK: in Search of High-Cost Power without Strategy at the Wrong Time

Then there is the issue of long term predictions. By Leonard Hyman and Bill Tilles: It was the February 4 article in the Financial Times titled, “Nuclear Hazards: struggling industry aims for power surge,” that got our attention. There’s been so much going on in the UK with Brexit and such. It’s almost easy to forget that the country remains steadily on course to build (and subsidize) multiple new nuclear power generating stations employing multiple designs and technologies. The FT...

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Bailed-Out RBS Systemically Forged Customer Signatures: Whistle-Blowers

Small-business customers suffered most at the bank’s hands. By Don Quijones, Spain, UK, & Mexico, editor at WOLF STREET. The Royal Bank of Scotland, the UK mega-lender that has already cost British taxpayers over £90 billion in bailouts, losses, fines and legal fees, could be about to face its biggest scandal yet following allegations staff were routinely “trained” to forge customer signatures. First, managers were taught how to fake the names on key customer documents, according...

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Crash of Outsourcing Giant with 70,000 Employees Globally Sparks New Panic

“Not another Carillion,” says UK government to soothe frazzled nerves, as entire industry is teetering. By Don Quijones, Spain, UK, & Mexico, editor at WOLF STREET. Since the sudden downfall of the British infrastructure giant Carillion two weeks ago, investors’ nerves in London are frayed. And short-sellers, scanning the horizon for their next prey, seem to have found it. Its name is Capita. It is one of the UK government’s biggest outsourcing firms with contracts to provide...

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The Public Is Becoming Restive over Britain’s Privatized Utilities

Even the Financial Times throws in the towel. By Leonard Hyman and Bill Tilles, Oilprice.com According to a poll taken late last year, 77% of respondents in the UK wanted to re-nationalize all of Britain’s energy utilities. In addition, 83% of those surveyed wanted to renationalize the water utilities as well. To a degree this seems like a repudiation of Margaret Thatcher’s great privatization experiment of the 1980s. She and her Conservative government privatized large swathes of the...

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