Auditor handed £14.4m fine over forged Carillion documents

Six senior accountants at KPMG have been found to have forged documents to try and mislead regulators over incorrect audits at collapsed Wolverhampton construction giant KPMG.

The staff at KPMG have been found guilty at a tribunal of “fabricating” meeting minutes to try and cover up the internal chaos at Carillion, which went bust in 2018 owing £7bn.

KPMG has been fined £14.4m – the second biggest aimed at an accountancy firm.

On Thursday (May 12), the tribunal found that five KPMG auditors – Peter Meehan, Alistair Wright, Richard Kitchen and Adam Bennett, along with junior auditor Pratik Paw, were all guilty of misconduct.

A sixth member of the group, Stuart Smith, settled out of court for £150,000 in January. He was banned for practicing as a qualified accountant for three years.

The six were found to have drawn up fabricated spreadsheets and records of meetings after being questioned by quality inspectors about work on Carillion and Regenersis, another outsourcing firm, between 2015 and 2017.

Meehan, in trying to lay the blame at at his colleagues’ door, said he had been “let down” by more junior members of staff and that he couldn’t have been involved in the forged documents as he had been on a shopping trip with his wife when they were drawn up.

Mark Ellison QC said that the four senior KPMG auditors had “acted deliberately and dishonestly in the creation of false documents and the making of false representations” to the FRC.

Paw, the more junior of the group, acted “without integrity, but not dishonesty”.

Penalties for each individual will be decided over coming months.

Wolverhampton-based Carillion employed more than 43,000 people, including 18,000 in the UK.