Even more accountants caught red-handed

Industry news roundup: week ended 9 Jan 2014:

As if the news from last week wasn’t bad enough, there seems to be a growing trend of accountants finding themselves in extremely hot water.

First up, it turns out that a former BBC accountant made off with some £80,000. He was sacked in October of 2012 by BBC Finance but the news has finally come to light after the sneaky little bastard entered a guilty plea and raided his pension fund to pay back £30,000 of the funds he tried to make off with.

£80,000 is no laughing matter, but in the grand scheme of things it’s really just a drop in the bucket. In fact in the world of accounting fraud it’s barely a blip on the radar; consider how much of a massive scandal that Mike Lynch has involved himself in.

If you’ve never heard of him, you needn’t worry – Dr Lynch was the founder of Autonomy, a UK-based software company that he sold in 2011 to American personal computing firm Hewlett Packard. However, he also did so whilst allegedly engaging in £3 billion worth accounting fraud, and the Yanks are positively up in arms about the whole matter.

It’s actually a very bad thing for Dr Lynch, especially because he could easily end up being extradited to the US under a post-September 11 treaty the UK forged with Washington that exposes British subjects to prosecution if any sort of corporate malfeasance is suspected. Originally the intent behind the treaty was to root out terrorist cells but more often it’s been used to handle situations like these where ostensibly there’s no terrorist ties.

Listen, I’m not going to say that Lynch shouldn’t be hoisted by his own petard for any alleged accountancy scams, but I’m a little concerned with the impunity with which the Americans are extraditing Brits to the US to face prosecution. Maybe I’m just a little paranoid about the whole thing, and while I have no love for anyone who tarnishes the good name of accountants everywhere by defrauding companies and governments for their own financial benefit I just don’t relish the idea of the same country that gleefully stuffs undesirables in Guantanamo Bay running roughshod over even guilty British subjects!

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