The big four


KPMG called in to help troubled cafe

British cafe chain Patisserie Valerie has brought in KPMG to “review all options” after accounting irregularities of up to £20 million were uncovered last October. The discrepancies, which were revealed by PwC, included thousands of false entries in the ledger of its parent company Patisserie Holdings. The parent company later admitted in a statement that the cash flow and profitability of the business had been overstated. Luke Johnson, the chain’s leading shareholder is negotiating with HSBC and Barclays to extend £9.7 million of overdraft debt which was due on 18 January. The company’s finance director, Chris Marsh has resigned, and been arrested by police.

EY elects new global CEO

EY has elected Global Managing Partner Carmine Di Sibio to be the firm’s next global Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. He will succeed Mark Weinberger and begin his new role on 1 July. Di Sibio, who has been with the firm since 1985, has held a number of senior roles and has been an advisory and assurance partner for many of EY’s biggest financial services accounts. He is Chair of the firm’s Global Financial Services Markets Executive and also Regional Managing Partner for the Americas financial services organization. He also co-chairs EY’s Global Diversity and Inclusiveness Steering Committee. In a statement, Di Sibio said: “I am honoured to be chosen to lead this great organization, which I have been a part of for over 33 years.”

China National Tobacco plans IPO

China Tobacco International has filed for a Hong Kong initial public offering. The listing will raise US$100 million for the unit, accounting for a small stake of the overall business. The unit resells tobacco leaf products from Brazil and the United States to Chinese manufacturers. The subsidiary of China National Tobacco plans to use the proceeds from the IPO to purchase cigarette brands or tobacco product brands, and also plans to expand its reach into Southeast Asian markets. The listing comes at a time of increasing pressure within the nation to stop smoking, where 300 million people are smokers. Its parent company is the world’s largest tobacco producer by volume.

Eight charged with hacking into SEC

United States authorities have charged eight individuals for hacking into the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) database. The group, which includes three Ukrainians and a Russian, tapped into the SEC’s system from May to October 2016, accessing thousands of confidential documents related to corporations’ financial conditions. The data was sold to other traders, before it was made public. The SEC believes at least 157 earning releases were traded ahead of time, netting the group US$ 4.1 million. In a statement, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton said: “These threats to our marketplace are significant and ongoing and often involve threats from actors outside our borders. No system can be entirely safe from a cyber intrusion.” 

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