29 Apr 2013 01:10pm

Firms bow out of Iran

Three major accounting firms have announced that they will be cutting ties with Iran after coming under pressure from US-based United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI)

Last month, Grant Thornton, RSM and Crowe Horwath received letters from the campaigning organisation, which is led by former US ambassador to the United Nations Mark Wallace, warning them that they were undermining global economic sanctions by working in Iran through their correspondent firms.

UANI also stressed the increasing alarm with which Iran’s nuclear development and its refusal to alleviate fears that it may be pursuing nuclear weapons is regarded.

According to Wallace, Grant Thornton International CEO Ed Nusbaum immediately got in contact with UANI, saying that it wanted “to do the right thing and end any Iran exposure”.

Wallace applauded the firm’s move and thanked it for “its responsible action” in terminating its relationship with Rymand & Co. “In discussions with UANI, Grant Thornton pledged that it will do no future business in Iran until the Iranian regime stops sponsoring terrorists and ends its pursuit of nuclear weapons,” he said.

UANI was also delighted to receive a positive response from RSM and Crowe Horwath as well. RSM has agreed to end its existing relationship with Dayarayan Auditing and Financial Services on 30 April while Crowe Horwath is in the process of withdrawing from its relationship with Hoshiyar/Behmand & Co.

The three were the latest accounting firms to be targeted by UANI. Over the past three years, KPMG, PwC and Ernst & Young have also announced their withdrawal from dealings with Iran.

“The success of this campaign,” Wallace added, “underscores the fiduciary risks of doing business in Iran.

“If Iran is too risky for the world’s leading accountancy firms, then all businesses have a duty to disclose any and all Iran work to shareholders, investors and regulators – and make plans to leave.

“Anything less is irresponsible and a failure to disclose material information under relevant law.”

Julia Irvine


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