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28 Mar 2013 05:48pm

RSM and GT taken to task over Iran

US-based United Against Nuclear Iran is targeting UK mid-tier firms that have representation in Iran

It says they are undermining global economic sanctions by working in Iran through their correspondent firms.

The not-for-profit, non-partisan, advocacy group has written to the CEOs of Grant Thornton and RSM International and their counterparts in the US expressing concern about their “apparent business dealings” with the country.

In the letters, former US ambassador to the United Nations and founder of UANI Mark Wallace stresses the increasing alarm with which Iran’s nuclear development and its refusal to alleviate fears that it may be pursuing nuclear weapons is viewed.

In RSM’s case, he points out that the 2010 client list of its Iranian correspondent firm, Dayarayan Auditing and Financial Services Firm, included Iranian government bodies, energy firms and foreign companies.

“Among these clients are many sanctioned entities, such as the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines, the National Iranian Tanker Company, and Datak Telecom,” he says. “UANI strongly believes that RSM should not enable the provision of such vital professional and financial services to the Iranian government, sanctioned entities and foreign companies in Iran at a time when the international community is working to economically isolate the regime in response to its nuclear program, support for terrorism and gross human rights violations.”

Grant Thornton’s letter points out that its Iranian correspondent firm, Rymand & Co, looks after major clients including public manufacturing firms, government organisations and agencies, as well as foreign companies with a presence in Iran.

Both firms are warned that their Iranian interests could adversely impact the business and income of their US practices.

Wallace suggests that both firms should follow the “responsible lead” of three of the Big Four and end their dealings with Iran. In 2010, KPMG broke off dealing with its Iranian member firm in response to UANI’s campaign, while PwC and Ernst & Young informed the group that they had discontinued their business relationships in Iran

“It is incumbent on all of us – private citizens, governments and corporations alike – to take concrete steps to oppose this ongoing and dangerous threat,” Wallace adds. Both firms have been asked to reply by next week.

UANI’s accounting campaign in intended to highlight the practices of international accounting networks and associations that maintain links with firms in Iran. It believes that these firms benefit significantly through their association with the firms, whether through training business opportunities, global expertise, technical support or business referrals.

“The presence of these branded accounting firms in Iran also lends a sense of security to multinational businesses that partner with Iranian entities and masks the serious fiduciary and reputational risks that most responsible businesses would otherwise refuse to accept,” it claims.

“These Iranian accounting firms also commonly provide services for the Iranian government, blacklisted Iranian entities and firms in Iran’s sanctioned oil and gas sector.”

Julia Irvine

 

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