The New York Times reports that a retired partner at failed auditor Arthur Andersen is suing three major rival firms claiming that they 'unjustly enriched themselves at the expense of about 1,000 retired Andersen partners' and their wives.
Retired Andersen partner Gilbert Viets filed suit in Indianapolis last week and claims that Deloitte & Touche, Ernst & Young and KPMG all enticed away Andersen partners when it become known that Andersen was in trouble, but before it was found guilty of any wrongdoing.
The lawsuit further states that the rival firms all paid Andersen insufficient compensation to hire several hundred Andersen partners away and that, as a result, nothing was left to pay benefits owed to around 1,000 retired Andersen partners. Viets calculates that he personally has lost out to the tune of around $2.2m - about 10 years benefits - as a result of Andersen's collapse and he is determined to see some of that back from rival firms.
Deloitte called the suit frivolous, KPMG described it as a 'misguided attempt to lay blame where there is none.' Ernst & Young has maintained a dignified silence.
In a related story, the Daily Telegraph reports that Joe Berardino, former boss at Arthur Andersen, has issued a stark warning to the rest of the accounting profession. He has recently said that firms must guard against a 'dangerous complacency' and that other firms could go the same way as Andersen unless they got their acts together. He said: 'They think it can't happen to them. Talk to me a year ago and I would have said the same thing'.
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