Two accountants suspended over Econcern accounts

The accountancy sector’s disciplinary board has suspended two PwC accountants for one month for wrongly approving the accounts of a company which went bust owing €1bn.

The two should not have approved the 2007 books of sustainable energy group Econcern, the board said, following a complaint from the official receivers. Econcern went bust in summer 2009. The receivers are also holding eight former board members liable for the bankruptcy.

The 2007 accounts stated the company had made net profit of €85.5m, the board said. However, most of this was due to a share swap which gave Econcern a 52% interest in French company Sol Holding.

This company was heavily overvalued but the accountants blindly accepted this, the board said.

PwC said in a reaction it is shocked by the ruling and regretted the fact ‘we have not been able to convince the board that the checks were carried out in line with the rules’.

Econcern started out as a small cooperative in Utrecht but had grown into an international with operations in 24 countries by the time it collapsed.

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