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PCAOB censures Deloitte Mexico partners in cross-border audits

Tammy Whitehouse | November 2, 2018

Audit regulators have leveled another enforcement action against Deloitte in Mexico, disciplining three partners for failures in cross-border audits that affected U.S. audit opinions.

The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board barred, fined, and censured three partners at Deloitte’s affiliate firm in Mexico, Galaz, Yamazaki, Ruiz Urquiza, S.C. The PCAOB says the three partners failed to properly evaluate loan loss reserves in 2013 and 2014 for a Mexico-based subsidiary of Texas-based loan provider EZCORP. The three partners also failed to evaluate the operating effectiveness of certain internal controls, and they compounded the problem by misrepresenting their work to Deloitte in the United States, the PCAOB says.

EZCORP restated its financial statements for fiscal years 2012 through 2014, at least in part due to misclassification of certain loans, which caused an understatement of loan reserves and loan bad debt expense, the PCAOB says. The Deloitte Mexico partners failed to perform any testing of the loan classification, instead accepting management’s assertions, according to the enforcement order. The board barred the three auditors from being “associated persons” at a registered public accounting firm for two years and fined them a total of $130,000.

Deloitte had no comment on the action.

The latest action is not the PCAOB’s first major enforcement against Deloitte in Mexico. The board censured the firm and fined it $750,000 in 2016 on allegations it failed to effectively implement quality control policies and procedures for audit documentation. The PCAOB said the firm failed from 2011 to 2015 to archive audit documentation for numerous public company audits in accordance with standards.

At the same time, the PCAOB accused two former Deloitte Mexico partners and a former auditor for audit deficiencies and improper work paper alterations in connection with a 2010 audit of a U.S.-based mining company. The firm agreed then to undertake significant remedial measures meant to prevent future violations, according to the PCAOB.