Judges order probe into global auditors' role in Saigon Commercial Bank scam

By Quynh Trang   April 14, 2024 | 11:24 pm PT
Judges order probe into global auditors' role in Saigon Commercial Bank scam
Inside an office of Saigon Commercial Bank in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo courtesy of the bank
The People's Court of Ho Chi Minh City has ordered an investigation into the roles of Ernst & Young, Deloitte and KPMG that certified Saigon Commercial Bank’s books.

The police and prosecutors should probe the three "Big 4" auditing firms, and penalize them if they had committed any violations, the judges said.

PwC rounds of the "Big 4," the world’s largest auditing companies.

The court last week sentenced Truong My Lan, a property tycoon who indirectly owned the majority of SCB, to death for embezzling the bank’s money over 10 years and causing it a loss of VND677 trillion ($27 billion).

Lan and her accomplices committed their crimes between 2012 and 2022, with EY being the auditors for SCB between 2012 and 2016, by Deloitte from 2017 to 2019 and KMPG in 2020.

None of the three reported anything unusual at the bank and approved its results.

But after SCB was placed under special control by the central bank in 2022, the latter’s auditors found that it had accumulated losses of VND465 billion while it had earlier reported profits.

EY, Deloitte and KMPG have not commented on the matter.

But a senior executive at one of the companies, who asked not to be identified, said the job of an auditing firm is simply to provide opinion on data provided by a client and not to evaluate it.

If a bank provided false information on the value of its collateral, the auditing firm is not required to evaluate the number, he said.

Minister of Finance Ho Duc Phoc said at the National Assembly last month there were signs of wrongdoing by auditors from the three companies in the SCB case.

He also refused to rule out that their violations were intentional and there was "collusion" between some individual auditors and the bank.

From 2012 to 2022 Lan and her accomplices obtained 2,500 loans and caused losses of VND677 trillion to SCB.

She was identified as the mastermind and committed elaborate and organized crimes, causing irrevocable consequences, the judges said.

Three top executives of the bank, who are guilty of assisting Lan in her nefarious scheme, were sentenced to life in prison.

go to top