BDO`s comparison comes nearly seven years after KPMG agreed to pay a $456 million fine as part of a deferred policing agreement that covers its role in promoting similar tax housing. Since then, a procession of other big names has taken hold in the dazzling protection market of the late 1990s and early 2000s, with Deutsche Bank agreeing to pay a record $554 million in 2010 as part of a deferred law enforcement agreement. (Late prosecutions, also known as court distraction, have become the preferred method of feeding the misbehaviour of leading companies since the Department of Justice was attacked for causing the collapse of the audit firm Arthur Andersen in 2002, convicted of obstruction of justice in the Enron scandal.) Audit firm BDO USA has acknowledged that it was part of a fraud that caused $6.5 billion in false tax losses and agreed to pay $50 million to settle a federal investigation into the promotion of abusive tax housing from 1997 to 2003. As part of a lawsuit agreement with BDO announced today, Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, has filed a conspiracy charge for tax evasion against the company, but will dismiss the charge in December, provided BDO continues to work on its investigation and meet certain other conditions. Chicago-based BDO seidman, formerly known as BDO Seidman, is the seventh largest audit firm in the United States. The $34.4 million fine is part of a $50 million payment made by BDO to the United States in connection with the filing of information accusing the company of a charge of participating in a conspiracy of tax evasion from approximately 1997 to 2003 and a deferred prosecution agreement with the United States for criminal charges if certain conditions are met. The $15.6 million will be donated to the Department of Justice. BDO USA, as it is now known as the audit firm, agreed in June 2012 to pay $50 million to resolve government demands related to it through a deferred law enforcement agreement. In an agreement with the U.S.
law firm in Manhattan, BDO will avoid lawsuits for the design and marketing of financial transactions that have caused at least $6.5 billion in false tax losses. In accordance with the agreement on deferred criminal prosecutions, BDO must continue to cooperate with the investigation. If the company meets the requirements of the pact, the government has agreed to dismiss the charge in six months. “Today`s agreement is the latest result of a years-long attempt to detect this massive fraud and bring to justice the individuals and entities responsible for the withdrawal of billions of dollars in revenue from the IRS,” Manhattan District Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement. “Tax evaders, whether they are people who file false tax returns or companies that help them with their deception – are not tolerated.” BDO said it was relieved to finally settle the decades-old case. “BDO USA stated that it has taken a solution with the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Justice regarding their investigations into BDO`s involvement in tax housing for wealthy clients between 1997 and 2003,” the company said in a statement. “BDO has entered into a six-month agreement to delay the prosecution with the U.S. Attorney`s Office for the Southern District of New York and a concluding agreement with the Internal Revenue Service. Under the agreements, BDO will pay a total of $50 million.