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Staff exam cheats land Ernst & Young a record £82m fine

Big Four accountant Ernst & Young handed record £82m fine after 49 members of staff cheated in a US exam

Ernst & Young was fined a record £82million after its staff cheated in ethics exams.

In yet another blow to the already tarnished auditing industry, the London-based Big Four accountant admitted 49 auditors cheated on the ethics portion of the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam in the US.

Hundreds of others cheated to complete the continuing professional education components relating to CPA ethics.

Big Four accountant Ernst & Young admitted 49 auditors cheated on the ethics portion of the Certified Public Accountant exam in the US

EY bosses then misled investigators from the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) about the misconduct.

The fine was the largest ever by the SEC on an accounting firm and twice what KPMG had to pay in 2019 for exam cheating and illegal tip-offs.

Gurbir Grewal, director of the Wall Street watchdog’s enforcement division, said: ‘It’s simply outrageous that the very professionals responsible for catching cheating by clients cheated on ethics exams of all things.

‘It’s equally shocking that Ernst & Young hindered our investigation of this misconduct. 

This action involves breaches of trust by gatekeepers within the gatekeeper entrusted to audit many of our nation’s public companies.’

EY has also agreed to ‘undertake extensive remedial measures to fix the firm’s ethical issues,’ the SEC said.

The CPA is the key qualification for accountants in the US.

Brendan Mullin, EY media relations director, said: ‘EY acknowledges the findings determined by the SEC. At EY, nothing is more important than our integrity and our ethics.’

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Read more at DailyMail.co.uk