SFIO to decide on probing KPMG's role in Reebok case: Moily

The government today said it will be up to corporate fraud probe body SFIO to investigate role played by global audit firm KPMG in the alleged Rs 870 crore fraud in Reebok India by its two former top executives.

"We have given Reebok (India) as a company to the SFIO, now it's up to them to look into all the aspects," Corporate Affairs Minister Veerappa Moily told reporters here.

The Minister was responding to a query on whether the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) would look into the role of audit firm KPMG, which did a forensic audit of Reebok India on behalf of its German parent Adidas in 2010.

When contacted, a KPMG spokesperson said that the SFIO has already given a clean-chit to the firm on the issue.

Official sources, however, said even if KPMG's role is not probed per se but their forensic audit report of 2010 may be asked for as part of ongoing investigation in the fraud case. Moily said during the initial investigation into the case by the Reigistrar of Companies, Reebok India was not cooperative.

"Prima facie, we found some problems because of which we referred it to the SFIO," he added.

Last month, Adidas-owned Reebok India had filed an FIR, alleging that its former Managing Director Subhinder Singh Prem and Chief Operating Officer Vishnu Bhagat were involved in Rs 870-crore fraud by indulging in "criminal conspiracy" and "fraudulent" practices over a period of time.

Both the executives, however, had denied the allegations.

Following this, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) had ordered a scrutiny of the books of accounts of the sportswear maker Reebok's Indian arm by the Registrar of Companies.

Later, the case was referred to SFIO, the investigation wing of MCA, and was given four months time to complete the probe. The I-T department too launched a probe into the finances of Reebok India.

Corporate fraud probe body SFIO has started scrutinising documents relating to alleged Rs 870-crore fraud involving Reebok India and may soon take a call on questioning senior officials of the sportswear maker.

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