A tribunal in Milan has ruled in favour of Mazars following last summer’s merger with BDO in Italy, reported by International Accounting Bulletin.

According to local media, the tribunal mandated the seizure of confidential documents, property of Mazars Group and currently held at BDO Italy’s offices.

The tribunal also prohibited BDO Italy to use Audisoft V9, a software owned by Mazars Group which member firms are licensed to use.

Finally the Milan’s tribunal has ordered BDO Italy to write within the next 30 days a letter to Mazars’ former clients (1,100 in total).

The letter will need to explain that the disputed merger was not a generic one but the sale of a business.

As such clients will have the right to terminate their contracts with BDO Italy in the next three months.

In August 2015, International Accounting Bulletin had revealed the merger having had access to a letter sent to clients and signed by Paolo Scelsi, then managing partner of BDO in Italy, and Simone Del Bianco, then managing partner of Mazars in Italy.

The letter announced the transfer of both firms’ audit, accounting and consulting services into "BDO Italia S.p.A".

At the time, International Accounting Bulletin reported that it was unclear what was meant by such a "transfer" of services.

Now the tribunal has ruled that the initial letter did not offer clients the opportunity to understand the consequences of the operation (and whether or not they had the right to terminate their contracts), thus BDO Italy should send notice to the 1,100 clients affected.

BDO Italy will also have to publish this notice on the landing page of its website and in two national newspapers.

A spokesperson for BDO International said the network had no comment at this stage.

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