Ex-Deloitte auditor deals with charges in the Netherlands over Steinhoff

By Janice Kew

( Bloomberg)– An ex- Deloitte LLP partner is dealing with disciplinary action in the Netherlands for an inappropriate audit of Steinhoff International Holdings NV prior to the South African merchant’s near-collapse more than 3 years back.

The Dutch Authority for the Financial Markets implicates Patrick Seinstra of stopping working “to get adequate and suitable audit proof from the yearly accounts,” according to documents from the hearing.

Deloitte declined to approve Steinhoff’s accounts in late 2017, causing the resignation of then Ceo Markus Jooste and a share cost downturn. The company had actually been auditing Steinhoff for many years, at first in South Africa and after that from Europe after the business moved its main listing to Germany.

In the probe that followed the scandal, PwC exposed EUR6.5 bn ($ 7.8 bn) of irregular deals in between Steinhoff and 8 companies in between 2009 and 2017.

The AFM’s claims particularly connect to Steinhoff Europe, where the PwC forensic examination revealed a big part of the supposed scams happened. The merchant’s European accounts were investigated by Commerzial Treuhand GmbH, and the regulator states Seinstra stopped working to inspect the German company’s submission was proper.

Commerzial Treuhand is not knowledgeable about any misbehavior in its work, Handling Director Timo Cybucki stated by e-mail.

Seinstra sent an “substantial declaration of defense” in action to the AFM’s grievance. This concentrates on Steinhoff’s background and the preparation and style of the audit and the scams, according to the AFM documents. Still, the AFM preserves that Seinstra “has actually acted culpably under disciplinary action”.

The Auditor’s Chamber can enforce steps varying from a conditional fine to a cancellation of the accounting professional’s registration. Still, it can’t release an order for expenses or choose payment in the method a civil court judge can.

Deloitte Netherlands found abnormalities at Steinhoff throughout the yearly audit in 2017, “regardless of the reality that the auditor was discovered to have actually been intentionally misguided,” it stated in an emailed reaction to concerns. It then demanded “an independent examination” that validated “the complex management scams.”

Deloitte has actually used a contribution of EUR779 m towards Steinhoff legal settlements, without confessing liability and in exchange for specific waivers.

The AFM case was previously reported by the Johannesburg-based Financial Mail.

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