Five questions answered on the KPMG scandal

Scott London has been accused of insider trading.

A senior partner at accountancy firm KPMG is facing criminal and civil charges for insider trading. We answer five questions about the case.

What exactly has the KPMG partner been accused of?

KPMG employee, Scott London, has been accused of insider trading by passing on information to a golfing friend, who then traded share tips.

What evidence are the allegations based on?

It is believed Los Angeles based London was secretly recorded by investigators passing on information to jeweller friend Bryan Shaw.

According to the filing, London told Shaw about a merger between KPMG's client RSC Holdings and United Rentals, as well as about another takeover of Pacific Capital Bancorp by Union Bank.

It is alleged that Mr London received cash in exchange for the tips offs.

How were authorities alerted to London’s alleged illegal activities?

There’s speculation that they were first alerted to his alleged insider trading after Shaw's stockbroker noticed unusual share trading patterns.

What have KPMG said about the allegations?

KPMG immediately separated the firm from London and in a statement published on the BBC said:

"This individual violated the firm's rigorous policies and protections, betrayed the trust of clients as well as colleagues, and acted with deliberate disregard for KPMG's long-standing culture of professionalism and integrity."

What effect has this had on KPMG?

The audit company this week resigned as auditor to US companies Herbalife and Skechers when the allegations came to light.

Photograph: Getty Images

Heidi Vella is a features writer for Nridigital.com

Photo: Getty
Show Hide image

Can Philip Hammond save the Conservatives from public anger at their DUP deal?

The Chancellor has the wriggle room to get close to the DUP's spending increase – but emotion matters more than facts in politics.

The magic money tree exists, and it is growing in Northern Ireland. That’s the attack line that Labour will throw at Theresa May in the wake of her £1bn deal with the DUP to keep her party in office.

It’s worth noting that while £1bn is a big deal in terms of Northern Ireland’s budget – just a touch under £10bn in 2016/17 – as far as the total expenditure of the British government goes, it’s peanuts.

The British government spent £778bn last year – we’re talking about spending an amount of money in Northern Ireland over the course of two years that the NHS loses in pen theft over the course of one in England. To match the increase in relative terms, you’d be looking at a £35bn increase in spending.

But, of course, political arguments are about gut instinct rather than actual numbers. The perception that the streets of Antrim are being paved by gold while the public realm in England, Scotland and Wales falls into disrepair is a real danger to the Conservatives.

But the good news for them is that last year Philip Hammond tweaked his targets to give himself greater headroom in case of a Brexit shock. Now the Tories have experienced a shock of a different kind – a Corbyn shock. That shock was partly due to the Labour leader’s good campaign and May’s bad campaign, but it was also powered by anger at cuts to schools and anger among NHS workers at Jeremy Hunt’s stewardship of the NHS. Conservative MPs have already made it clear to May that the party must not go to the country again while defending cuts to school spending.

Hammond can get to slightly under that £35bn and still stick to his targets. That will mean that the DUP still get to rave about their higher-than-average increase, while avoiding another election in which cuts to schools are front-and-centre. But whether that deprives Labour of their “cuts for you, but not for them” attack line is another question entirely. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics.

0800 7318496