Quinn hires audit firm co-owner is suing
Accountancy firm Ernst & Young has been appointed the new auditors to the Quinn Group, which is part-owned by the former Anglo Irish Bank.
The appointment comes just two days after the bank started a legal action against the firm over its role as auditors to the bank before it was taken into State ownership in 2009.
Ernst & Young has replaced rival accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers as auditors to the group formerly owned by the bankrupt and imprisoned businessman Seán Quinn.
A spokesman for Quinn Manufacturing Group confirmed it had just appointed Ernst & Young as its new auditors on a multi-year contract after a competitive tender for the job.
Both accountancy firms declined to comment, saying client matters were confidential.
The Irish Times revealed that Anglo, now Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, began a legal action against its former auditors Ernst & Young on Tuesday.
The bank said that the proceedings related to the accountancy firm’s role as auditors to Anglo before nationalisation.
Asked about the appointment of Ernst & Young as auditors to a company it part-owns, the bank said the decision was a matter for Quinn Group.
“IBRC is a minority shareholder in the Quinn Manufacturing Group and the appointment of auditors to the group is a matter for the independent board of directors of that company,” said a bank spokesman.
PricewaterhouseCoopers applied for the audit but was not expected to be reappointed given that it is being sued by the administrators of Quinn Insurance, once part of the group.
That legal action relates to its auditing of the insurer, which is costing the State’s Insurance Compensation Fund up to €1.65 billion.
This is being funded with a levy on Irish insurance policies except life insurance.
Mr Quinn lost control of the group in April 2011. IBRC owns almost a quarter of Quinn Group; the remainder is owned by its other lenders.
Ernst & Young made further comment on the bank’s action yesterday: “We have consistently said we stand by the quality of our work performed in the Anglo audit and will vigorously defend any such proceedings.”
Minister for Finance Michael Noonan told reporters he was aware of the State-owned bank’s action against the firm. “On they go,” he said.