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August 23, 2009

News Digest

LEGAL
US watchdog fines Deloitte partner

A former Deloitte US audit partner
has been fined for helping Navistar Financial Corporation, a unit
of the truck manufacturer Navistar International, avoid restating
its erroneous 2003 financial statements.

Thomas Linden, 46, of Western Springs,
Illinois, has been ordered to pay $75,000 and has been barred from
practice.

It is the second time the Public Company
Accounting Oversight Board has imposed a civil money penalty
against an individual accountant since the watchdog was created in
2002.

The other fine was against another Deloitte
partner for signing off on Navistar’s 2003 financial results.

STRATEGY
Mazars launches Asia-Pacific IFRS
desk

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Global professional services firm
Mazars is establishing an IFRS desk in Singapore to serve the
Asia-Pacific region.

The objectives of the desk are to promote the
firm’s IFRS services, enhance technical support for partners and
gain more public interest entity clients.

The desk is being established now because many
countries in Asia-Pacific are adopting IFRS in the short- to
medium-term.

The desk will begin operating on 1 September
and will be led by Pascal Jauffret.

HUMAN RESOURCES
Deloitte US offers
sabbaticals

Deloitte US is allowing its staff to
take voluntary sabbaticals. Two options are available – a four-week
unpaid sabbatical to pursue activities not covered by other formal
leave programmes and 3 to 6 month sabbaticals for career
development or volunteer projects.

The firm said the programme underscores its
mass career customisation model, which allows workers to ‘dial up’
or ‘dial down’ to fit various life stages.

Since the programme was launched on 1 June,
participants have pursued a range of activities, including studying
for the Graduate Management Admission Test, working on a fishing
boat in Alaska, volunteering for Habitat for Humanity and helping
the Foundation for Sustainable Development extend its microfinance
products in India.

Deloitte US chief talent officer and vice
chairman Cathy Benko (pictured right) said: “Enabling our
employees to recharge by engaging in various personal and
professional pursuits not only provides enriching career and life
experiences but also increases productivity and long-term
satisfaction.”

PEOPLE
BDO Seidman names new accounting leader

Lee Graul is to become BDO Seidman’s
national director of accounting.

He succeeds Ben Neuhausen, who passed away
recently after a long illness.

Graul is a former director of BDO
Seidman’s Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) practice and a
current member of the firm’s board of directors.

In addition to his new role, Graul will
continue to serve as an international liaison partner for the firm
and as a member of the BDO International policy board.

Graul has served two terms on the US Financial
Accounting Standards Board’s (FASB) emerging issues task force and
previously served on the FASB’s revenue recognition task force.

He joined BDO Seidman in 1986 after serving a
two-year term as a professional accounting fellow in the SEC Office
of the Chief Accountant.

MEMBERSHIP ADDITIONS
Venezuelan firm joins Russell Bedford

Russell Bedford International has
admitted Venezuelan firm Mungarrieta & Asociados.

Mungarrieta & Asociados is based in
Valencia, has four partners and 20 permanent staff. The firm will
become a member of Russell Bedford International alongside the
Caracas member, Hurtado Esteban & Asociados.

It plans to develop the network to cover other
important business locations within Venezuela.

PRODUCTS
Grant Thornton to provide bankruptcy help

Grant Thornton US has launched an
integrated case solutions (ICS) practice to speed companies through
the bankruptcy and workout process.

The ICS practice provides information and
claims management services to distressed middle-market and large
companies involved in bankruptcies or negotiated workouts.

The practice is led by Alan Dalsass, who
joined the firm from BMC Group where he led the restructuring
services division.

PRODUCTS
Deloitte proposes hedge fund model

Deloitte US has published a
framework for the hedge fund industry to manage risk and remain
profitable as the roles of prime brokers and third-party
administrators evolve.

The report, Networked Enterprise Hedge
Fund Model
, highlights five areas of focus for prime brokers
and third party administrators. These include building a middle
office that fits your operating strategy, adding horsepower to your
collateral management, planning risk management and getting the
most out of your third party administrator.

“As investors demand increased transparency
and operational risk management, hedge funds are faced with
redefining their relationships with prime brokers and third-party
administrators,” Deloitte US asset management services leader Cary
Stier said.

STRATEGY
Deloitte forms sustainability centre

Deloitte US has launched a centre
for sustainability performance in Waltham, Massachusetts.

The centre is led by Mark McElroy and will
provide on-site client training, research and development, with a
focus on corporate sustainability measurement and reporting.

McElroy previously served as executive
director of the US-based Center for Sustainable Innovation where he
worked with clients on sustainability management, measurement and
reporting engagements.

He will lead the centre’s research and
development efforts and work with clients to formulate tailored
metrics and tools designed to help manage, measure and report on
non-financial performance.

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