Saudi Arabias Capital Market Authority (CMA) has banned the local unit of New York-based accountancy firm Deloitte & Touche from carrying out accounting services in the kingdom for two years after it breached rules on accumulated losses, according to news agency Reuters.
The Riyadh-based CMA Committee for the Resolution of Securities Disputes (CRSD), which judges securities cases in the kingdom, has toughed the penalties already been in place for Deloitte over a long-running case involving its work for embattled contracting firm Mohammed Al-Mojil Group (MMG). Deloitte was suspended from doing auditing work for listed firms for two years in the kingdom, beginning 1 June 2015, while the case was pending.
The judicial committee did not specify the date when the new suspension would begin, however a Delloite spokesperson said that the regulators decision impacts only the companys business with the listed companies and entities licensed by the CMA who are asked not to engage with the company for audit services for two years beginning in June 2016.
The decision, which also includes a financial penalty on Deloitte SR300,000, does not extend to audit services provided to other companies and entities in Saudi Arabia which are not regulated by the CMA. It also does not affect the non-audit services offered by the Deloitte, which include consulting, tax, risk management, financial advisory, and all other advisory services provided to clients in the kingdom, including listed companies and entities authorised by the CMA, the spokesperson said.
The CRSD has also given jail terms to three MMG executives for misrepresenting the companys value during IPO process, according to a notification on CMA website which did not name the persons. However, the news agency said that Mohammad al-Mojil and his son Adel al-Mojil, the firms chairman are among the people to be imprisoned. Both men are to serve five years in prison, and a third unnamed executive received a three-year sentence.
One of the convicted persons has to pay SR1.62bn ($427m) to CMAs account for the illegal profits achieved, according to the statement, which again did not name who will pay the fine. The violators are also barred from working in listed companies on the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul) for a term ranging from five to 10 years.
The CRSD resolution, CMA said, was not final and the parties can appeal before The Appeal Committee for the Resolution of Securities Disputes (ACRSD) within 30 days.
MMG has not traded on the Saudi bourse since July 2012, when the CMA suspended it shares over the losses after it over-extended itself trying to take advantage of a construction boom in the kingdom.
In an emailed statement to Reuters, the Mojil family has denied wrongdoing and said they would appeal the committees decision, calling the investigative process defective from the start, alleging that the men were not given an opportunity to respond to certain of the evidence used against them.