Morning Briefing: Slater & Gordon denies ASIC investigation

Slater & Gordon releases statement in response to AFR report… Quindell under investigation in UK… Freshfields adds partners to its Japanese practice… US law firm reviewing Asia-Pac strategy…

Slater & Gordon denies ASIC investigation
Slater & Gordon has issued a statement after a report was published by AFR implying that the law firm’s accounting practices are the subject of an ASIC investigation. In a statement the firm says: “The article goes on to infer that SGH has recently engaged EY to undertake its UK audit in response to preliminary inquiries from ASIC. Both of these contentions are incorrect and misleading. EY assisted SGH with its financial due diligence in relation to the acquisition of the Professional Services Division (PSD) and was recently appointed to undertake the UK component of its audit process, which had been formerly undertaken by Baker Tilley (UK). Pitcher Partners were not involved in the financial due diligence relating to the acquisition of PSD. Furthermore Pitcher Partners has confirmed that it has not received any targeted enquiry from ASIC in relation to the accounting practices of SGH.”
Quindell under investigation in UK
Accounting irregularities at UK firm Quindell are being investigated by the country’s Financial Conduct Authority. The BBC reports that trading was temporarily suspended on the alternative investment market while regulators look into the matter. Quindell had already appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers to investigate and the findings were some “aggressive” accounting practices and others that were “inappropriate”. A spokeswoman from Slater & Gordon which acquired the firm’s professional services division told the broadcaster that the law firm always believed that Quindell’s accounting was aggressive but that its assessment of the value of the company were not based on historic accounts but on a “bottom-up assessment of the key drivers of the business using our own accounting practices.”
Freshfields adds partners to its Japanese practice
Two new partners have been appointed to the Japanese office of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. Akiko Yamakawa becomes a partner after 15 years with the firm and specialises in dispute resolution and employment matters. Meanwhile Nicholas Lingard has been with the firm for 4 years, starting in New York before relocating to Tokyo. He divides his time in the international arbitration practice between Tokyo and Singapore. 
US law firm reviewing Asia-Pac strategy
The US-based international law firm Latham & Watkins is reviewing its strategy to ensure it is best placed to push further with its Asia-Pacific operations. The firm is already in Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Beijing and Shanghai but is reportedly also considering offices in South Korea and Indonesia.

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