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Andersen called to check Clearstream

European clearinghouse Clearstream has appointed Big Five firm Andersen to conduct an internal review of its activities following allegations of international money laundering and tax fraud.

The Luxembourg-based company is half-owned by the Deutsche Borse, but has struggled to keep its credibility after a book called Revelations written by ex-banker Ernest Backes and Denis Robert, an investigative journalist, claimed Clearstream operated 8,000 secret banks accounts.

Despite the book’s authors being unable to provide convincing evidence of their allegations, and a report by Clearstream’s auditors KPMG and legal firm Freshfields which found no evidence of any illegal activities, the company has been unable to completely quash laundering allegations.

A number of executives have stepped down recently, including chief executive Andre Lussi, although the company has continued with its business activities since the book was published in May.

Acting chief Andre Roelants said Andersen would review the KPMG report as well as evaluate Clearstream’s technology and systems before releasing their own findings in six weeks time.

Roelants acknowledged Clearstream would need a clean bill of health if merger talks with UK-based clearing house Cedel, were to go ahead.


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