The chief executive of professional services firm KPMG has apologised for misconduct by employees when providing auditing information for construction and support services business Carillion, which collapsed in 2018.
A statement was published by KPMG as a disciplinary hearing by the Financial Reporting Council began this week.
In it, Jonathan Holt, CEO of KPMG UK LLP said the misconduct in the upcoming Tribunal "over the coming weeks is disturbing and upsetting for me and for my colleagues, who are committed to serving the public interest with honesty and integrity".
Holt added: “We became aware of the misconduct at the centre of this case as a result of our own internal investigations and immediately reported it to our regulator. We have cooperated fully with their investigation since then.
"This misconduct is a violation of our processes and clearly against our values. It is unacceptable, we do not tolerate or condone it in any way, and I am very sorry that it occurred in our firm.
"Since this misconduct came to light, we have worked hard, and with complete transparency to our regulator, to assure ourselves that it does not represent the wider culture or practice of our firm. It is, of course, for the tribunal to reach a conclusion on the allegations as they relate to the individuals concerned. Nevertheless, it is clear to me that misconduct has occurred and that our regulator was misled.
"I very much regret that individuals involved in this case failed to act properly or to call out the inappropriate behaviour of others, and I am saddened that some relatively junior former members of staff are facing very serious regulatory sanction at an early point in their careers.
"I have recently written again to all colleagues reminding them that all of us, at every level, have a duty to speak up whenever we have concerns about how our firm or our colleagues are conducting themselves.
"We will assist the tribunal in any way we can, as we have cooperated fully with the investigation into these matters. At the same time, nothing should detract from the frustration that I and my colleagues feel about what has occurred, or our determination to ensure that such misconduct will never be repeated at KPMG."
Carillion collapsed in 2018, leading to job losses of 3,000 and disruption to hundreds of projects in which its services were employed. The FRC announced the tribunal last year.
The tribunal will hear evidence over the coming weeks from the FRC, KPMG and others.