THE STRUCTURE OF THE ICAEW REPORT AND SOME QUESTIONS
The ICAEW Report is dated 1st March 1994 and is 27 pages
long. Its contents are as follows:
THE CONTENTS OF THE ICAEW REPORT
No. Of Pages
Letter from the Committee to Team Members
Directors’ Review (dated 23 February 1994)
Report by the Director of Professional Conduct Dept.
A list of the parties involved
Two letters from Coopers & Lybrand
One letter from Grant Thornton
Correspondence relating to shell companies
(including invoices received/issued by Jackson & Co.)
Letter from Lloyds Bank to Roger Humphrey
The copy of the report in our possession is incomplete. For example,
the report contains a letter (dated 20 July 1993) from the Jersey branch
of Coopers & Lybrand, but only the first page is included.
SOME QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS
The ICAEW Report does not contain any evidence to show that matters relating
to the AGIP audits have been investigated.
The report does not contain a list of any questions for auditors, far less
The High Court case heard that the monies were diverted. But the ICAEW
Report does not explain how the diversion went unnoticed. So we still do
not know how the AGIP creditors got paid, when the original payments
made to them were fraudulently diverted.
Much of the report prepared by the investigation ‘Team’ and the commentary
by the ‘Director of Professional Conduct Department’ consists of summaries
of newspaper reports and the publicly available transcripts of the court
judgement and speculation thereupon.
No reference could be found to any of the evidence that we had submitted
to the ICAEW. For example, some invoices, letters etc.
The ICAEW became a willing party to the investigation even though
the Secretary of the ICAEW Investigation Committee stated that:
In the case of AGIP, the fraudulent payments passed through Tunisia, England
and France, with shell-companies often obscuring the origins and destination
of illicit funds. There is nothing in the ICAEW report to show that any
steps were taken to secure information, evidence and files from other jurisdictions.
No attempt has made to request to secure any files from any accountant,
accountancy firm or its associates.
No attempt has even been made to look at the bank statements of the shell
companies allegedly used to launder money.
There are no copies of the forged drafts.
There is no list of any of the signatories for any of the shell-companies
through which any of the proceeds passed.
There is no list of the payments which alleged were fraudulently made.
No evidence of any kind had been collected from any non-UK jurisdiction
No reflections on the fact that the ICAEW had no indepedence from the accountancy
No body was subpoened to give evidence
Nothing is said or answered under oath.
No list of questions asked or replies given.
The ICAEW certainly could not subpoena accountants, or non-accountants
(e.g. Ian Griffin, Roger Humphrey), interview them and/or any witnesses.
It had no capacity to examine their files and other relevant documents.
So why did the ICAEW, the DTI, the SFO, the Prime Minister and others continue
to argue that allegations of ‘money laundering’ were being investigated
or even could be investigated by the ICAEW?
“The public face of this case, that is the way in which Accountancy
Age has criticised the Institute, is that “money laundering” has not been
clamped down upon. The Institute’s disciplinary procedures do not however
lend themselves to this task.” (Source: The ICAEW Report, page 2).
The ICAEW’s own admission does not lend any credence to its claims that
it has investigated the matter. By its admission, its disciplinary procedures
were not competent to even begin an investigation.
Matters relating to AGIP had been reported in the newspapers since 1985.
The High Court case was concluded in 1990/91. We had been pressing various
regulators to act since early 1991. Given the High Court revelations, one
might have expected the ICAEW to move with some urgency, but its Report
shows little concern. The Secretary of the Investigations Committee wrote:
“I should like nothing better than to close the file on AGIP,
not least because ...... I have contributed to delays by putting this matter
aside in favour of more pressing and less intractable problems” (Source:
The ICAEW Report, page 2)
What was more pressing than the views expressed by a High Court judge and
the involvement of accountants in money laundering is not clear.
Does the ICAEW admission mean that faced with “intractable problems”, it
Certainly, there is nothing in the report to explain the delays.
The correspondence with external parties is minimal
There is no indication that any face-to-face meetings took place with any
of the parties.
No evidence had been invited from Griffin and Humphrey, other than the
letters which they sent to the ICAEW many years ago.
Jackson and Griffin had offered 20,00 pages of evidence to the ICAEW (and
the DTI, the Serious Fraud Office and others). Their offer was not taken
No correspondence had been sent to any of the journalists who investigated
the AGIP affair.
The ICAEW Report is not based upon any sworn affidavits from any of the
There is no list of any questions which any individual accountant or accountancy
firm had been asked to answer.
The ICAEW Report speculates on three possible interpretations of the events.
These are framed from the transcript of the publicly available High Court
judgement and press reports rather than from any original investigation
by the ICAEW.
The Committee’s favoured belief is “the possibility that the funds were
intended as bribes to Tunisian officials or ministers” (page 2). Yet the
report does not contain any evidence to show why the Committee believes
this version of the events rather than any other interpretation. There
is certainly no indication of any weights that might have been attached
to any of the evidence to enable the Committee to reach its favoured conclusion.
The ICAEW does not appear to have asked for the sight of any of the allegedly
forged bank drafts.
The report does not contain names of the directors, or the bank signatories
of the companies through whom the money was laundered.
Our conclusion is that the ICAEW investigation is totally inadequate.
Perhaps, the ICAEW should stand for the INSTITUTE OF COVER-UP, ARROGANCE,
EVASION AND WHITEWASH.
The ICAEW Report does not meet the minimal standards expected for an
investigation. Yet it had enabled the DTI, the Prime Minister and others
to parry all questions. What were they all covering up?