Accounting

Exclusive: BT executives knew of accounting fraud in Italy unit – prosecutors

An initial criminal investigation into an accounting scandal at the Italian unit of British telecom firm BT has alleged that three top executives of the institution have been aware of bookkeeping fraud on the unit, in line with a record prep
The report, which wraps up the initial research, alleges that a community of people in BT Italy exaggerated revenues, faked agreement renewals, and invoices and invented bogus provider transactions so as to meet bonus targets and disguise the unit’s genuine financial performance.

The closing of the initial probe is the final step earlier than prosecutors press charges against the suspects. Under Italian regulation, the ones under research now have three weeks to show why they must no longer be charged.

In the report, handed this week to events involved inside the investigation and seen via Reuters, prosecutors for the first time have named group executives as suspects in the case, although all three have left BT because the scandal surfaced. Two of them had been based in London.

The report also lists BT Italy as a subject of the research, no longer as a damaged celebration.

In an emailed assertion, BT stated: “It would be inappropriate to touch upon an ongoing criminal investigation.”

In the file, prosecutors name Luis Alvarez and Richard Cameron, respectively former chief executive and former leader financial officer of BT Global Services – certainly one of the largest divisions of BT Group – and Corrado Sciolla, previously BT’s head of continental Europe, among an improved listing of 23 suspects. Alvarez and Cameron have been primarily based in London, while Sciolla turned into in Milan.

The three are accused of setting unrealistically excessive enterprise goals and of complicity in fake accounting at BT Italy, which formed a part of the Global Services division, in keeping with the record.

A legal professional acting for the three could not be at once reached for the remark.
AUDITOR PROBE

The document additionally reveals that an Italian partner of BT’s auditor, PricewaterhouseCoopers, is beneath investigation over the scandal, which erupted in 2017 and led the organization to write off 530 million kilos ($685 million).

In the record prosecutors allege Andrea Alessandri, who led the PwC group in fee of auditing BT Italia’s money owed, falsified the audit.

Reuters could not straight away touch Alessandri for comment. A PwC spokeswoman stated the agency had no on the spot remark.

When the scandal broke in early 2017, BT’s then leader govt, Gavin Patterson, stated that the corporation could not have detected the problem quicker as pinnacle managers in London were unaware. BT filed its very own crook criticism towards several of BT’s Italian managers in 2017. It is contesting class-movement proceedings by means of shareholders who say the group misled investors and failed to right away expose the irregularities.

Prosecutors have additionally located BT Italia beneath research. Under Italian regulation, an agency may be deemed chargeable for alleged crimes committed through its pinnacle executives.

BT said in January 2017 that Sciolla changed into leaving the employer and in May 2017 introduced the replacement of Alvarez. The business enterprise stated on Wednesday Cameron had additionally left in 2017.

Patterson, who isn’t below investigation, stepped down on Jan. 31 this yr. BT said it’d now not be feasible to get a remark from him at the probe.

Britain’s accounting regulator said in June 2017 it might look at audits by PwC of BT Group in the wake of the Italian scandal. PwC stated at the time the British regulator’s annual overview of its audit work, guidelines and methods confirmed an endured trend of improvement in PwC’s work. Ared by means of Italian prosecutors.

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