05 Oct 2020
Portuguese auditing companies that broke anti-money laundering laws while helping Angolan billionaire Isabel dos Santos grow her business empire should face criminal prosecution, the country’s regulator has said.
The Securities Market Commission, CMVM in Portuguese, investigated nine auditing companies that worked with dos Santos following the publication of the Luanda Leaks investigation in January, which was led by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
Five audits are ongoing, according to the regulator’s annual report released on Thursday and reported by Portuguese media, including Expresso, an ICIJ partner on the investigation. CMVM audited 27 entities and opened 84 case files in response to the Luanda Leaks investigation, according to the regulator’s announcement.
The regulator discovered cases in which auditors had not stopped possible money laundering, according to the newspaper Publico. In other cases, auditors did not report suspicious transactions to Portugal’s financial intelligence unit as required when auditors had “sufficient reasons” to suspect that transactions “could be related to funds from criminal activities,” CMVM said.
The regulator also identified situations in which auditors failed to identify parties to transactions, lacked adequate documentation to show “economic substance of underlying transactions” and did not maintain ”professional skepticism,” as required by law.
CMVM recommended its findings be sent to Portuguese prosecutors for possible future criminal investigation, according to Expresso.
By Will Fitzgibbon, ICIJ, 2 October 2020
Read more at the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists
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