Monday 29 March 2021 10:09 am

EY drops $11m case against whistleblower who alleged gold smuggling cover-up

EY UK has dropped its appeal against a High Court case that saw a former partner awarded $10.8m in compensation.

The Big Four firm was due to begin an appeal this year against a High Court ruling in favour of Amjad Rihan, who said he was forced to flee Dubai after alleging EY helped cover up the smuggling of gold for suspected money laundering.

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The High Court had awarded Rihan $10.8m in damages and found that EY breached the principles of integrity, objectivity and professional behaviour.

EY has now dropped its appeal against the decision.  

The whistleblower told the Financial Times: “I didn’t feel I had a choice. I had to fight for justice, and any cursory examination of the facts of the case showed that I was clearly in the right.

“Given that, I have never been able to understand why EY fought a losing battle for so long.”

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EY carried out an audit of Dubai refinery Kaloti, and discovered that in 2013 it had received large quantities of gold coated in silver from Morocco, which had been declared as gold to Dubai authorities but may have been declared as silver to Morocco authorities to evade export restrictions.

The audit also found that 40 per cent, amounting to $5.2bn, of Kaloti’s business was conducted in cash.

Rihan said his bosses at EY tried to water down the report into Kaloti and did not want the results to become public.

In 2013 Rihan fled Dubai and subsequently resigned from the firm. He published the findings of the audit in 2014, despite legal threats from EY’s lawyers.

In a statement EY said: “We remain disappointed by the trial judge’s decision and by the subsequent refusal of leave to appeal the underlying findings of fact, with which we firmly disagree.

“With such an impediment, we concluded that our appeal on the law, even if successful, no longer merited the time and resources involved. We therefore withdrew the appeal last year.”