Former auditor blows the whistle on Ernst & Young over gold company


Another egregious case of alleged corruption has rocked the fraud world. A whistleblower accuses Ernst & Young, one of the venerated “Big Four” accounting firms, of “unlawful, unprofessional, and unethical” behaviour for its audit of a Dubai gold company. The gold company, Kiloti, is in turn accused of money laundering and buying gold from conflict zones.

According to the article, titled “Whistleblower claims accountants turned a blind eye to Dubai firm he says painted 5 tons of gold to look like silver” (Business Insider, 2018) the fired former auditor filed documents in high court detailing the accusations. The article notes:

The court documents allege the audit found Kaloti had imported five tons of gold bars from Morocco painted silver, to avoid Moroccan export restrictions on gold, and that cash transactions totalling more than $5 billion made by the company were not reported to the Dubai authorities.

It is also alleged that about 57 tons of Sudanese gold was imported without due diligence checks done to establish whether it had come from a conflict zone, and that Kaloti did business with several organisations listed by US authorities as fronts for terrorism and organised crime.

The case illustrates several truths about corruption today:

Money laundering is still a serious, widespread problem. Anti-money laundering experts help clients avoid these risks, because the negative impacts of money laundering are so significant for any organisation. They include:

  • Damaged corporate reputations and brand devaluation
  • Eroding employee moral
  • Potential consumer boycotts
  • Negative investor perceptions
  • Possible legal action
  • Fines and potential jail terms for directors

Whistleblowers still face repercussions. In this case, it appears the EY auditor was terminated by bringing forth these bombshell allegations. CRI Group counsels clients to encourage fraud reporting, rather than punish it. The best case is to provide an anonymous reporting system, and to respond thoroughly to any tips of corruption, bribery and fraud. Remember, your employees are your first line of defence against fraud. If they aren’t willing to come forward for fear of retribution, fraud and corruption can continue unabated for years.

The UK Bribery Act is in force here. According to the article, the whistleblower and his lawyers allege that EY is in violation of the Bribery Act “because the firm retained Kaloti as a client and continued its good relations with Dubai authorities,” in spite of the alleged known or suspected money laundering.

This is why CRI Certification places a huge emphasis on helping clients stay diligent and in compliance with all anti-bribery and AML laws and regulations.

ISO 37001:2016 certifies that your organization has implemented reasonable and proportionate measures to prevent bribery. These measures involve top-level leadership, training, bribery risk assessment, due diligence adequacy, financial and commercial controls, reporting, audit and investigation.

The 3PRM-Qualified™ training and 3PRM-Certified™ certification process for ISO 37001:2016 helps your company address bribery in all its forms, including:

  • In the public, private and not-for-profit sectors
  • By the organization
  • By the organization’s personnel acting on the organization’s behalf or for its benefit
  • By the organization’s business associates acting on the organization’s behalf or for its benefit
  • Of the organization
  • Of the organization’s personnel in relation to the organization’s activities
  • Of the organization’s business associates in relation to the organization’s activities
  • Direct and indirect bribery (e.g. a bribe offered or accepted through or by a third party)

Contact CRI Certification today and find out how we can help your organisation stay better protected from the negative effects of money laundering and bribery, and remain in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.