A former KPMG partner, who signed off an audit giving debt-laden Carillion a clean bill of health, blamed junior colleagues at a hearing on the matter.
Peter Meehan denied allegations by the Financial Reporting Council that he conspired with members of his KPMG audit team to create false documents in order to fudge an inspection of the accounts by the watchdog, The Times first reported.
Meehan’s lawyer said that he could not have been involved in forging the documents because he was out shopping with his wife and delivered a car to his brother on the afternoon of a key meeting, where the decision to forge documents was supposedly taken.
Ian Croxford QC, representing Meehan, yesterday told the tribunal that Meehan was a “patsy” and “bitterly regrets that that is the case,” according to The Times.
Croxford said that Meehan had “placed his trust and confidence” in members of his audit team over the FRC inspection and “feels let down”.
Not only was Meehan absent from a key meeting, but he did not seek an update on the work of junior colleagues the following day because he was welcoming a new partner to the firm and attending a lecture on new audit standards. “He cannot have been involved”, said Croxford.
Meehan had been a partner at KPMG for 18 years when the 2016 audit of Carillion took place. The accounts were inspected the following year by the FRC, at which point staff at the firm reportedly forged meeting minutes and audit records. Outsourcer Carillion collapsed in 2018 under the weight of $7bn in debt.