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Walmart Joins The Ranks Of US Firms ‘Sharing US Tax Reform Benefits’ »

by Glen Shapiro,, New York

11 January 2018

Walmart, the US retail giant, has become the latest company to announce perks for its employees as a result of the passage of the US tax reform bill.

Walmart announced January 11 that it would increase its starting wage rate to USD11, expand maternity and parental leave benefits, and generally provide a one-time cash bonus of up to USD1,000.

The company said: “We are early in the stages of assessing the opportunities tax reform creates for us to invest in our customers and associates and to further strengthen our business, all of which should benefit our shareholders. […] Tax reform gives us the opportunity to be more competitive globally and to accelerate plans for the US.”

Americans for Tax Reform is maintaining a list of companies and their commitments to employees as a result of the US tax reform package on its website, announcing January 11, 2018, that more then a million US workers stand to benefit so far.

“Just ten days into 2018 the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has changed the nation for the better,” ATR President Grover Norquist said. “American companies are raising wages, paying bonuses, expanding operations and increasing 401(k) contributions.”

Noting the expanding list, John Thune (R-SD), a member of the tax-writing Senate Finance Committee, said: “Two weeks ago, President Trump signed our historic tax reform bill into law, and middle-income Americans are already seeing the benefits. Companies across America are announcing they will raise wages, increase charitable donations, and give out bonuses to many of their hardworking employees – citing the tax reform legislation as the key factor in those decisions. As it stands today, at least one million Americans will receive special bonuses due to the passage of comprehensive tax reform. This is good news for many workers who have struggled to make ends meet in a weak economy. Americans now have a tax code that will foster the economic growth necessary to put more money in their pockets.”

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City law firm Hogan Lovells accused of ‘whitewash’ investigation into South African government corruption

City law firm Hogan Lovells has been drawn into the growing corruption scandal in South Africa amid allegations it produced a “whitewash” report into claims of money laundering at a government agency.

Lord Peter Hain, the former Labour minister and anti-apartheid campaigner, wrote to Britain’s law watchdog the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) on Friday requesting an inquiry into Hogan Lovells’ conduct. 

Lord Hain is expected to raise his concerns in the House of Lords on Monday. 

The move threatens to drag the ­international law firm into the political storm swirling around South Africa’s president Jacob Zuma and close associates the billionaire Gupta family.

British firms linked to misconduct by the Guptas have included disgraced PR agency Bell Pottinger – which collapsed after a dirty tricks campaign was exposed – KPMG, which has subsequently cleared out its South African management, and management consultancy McKinsey.

Cape Town, South Africa

Grant Duncan Smith / Getty

Lord Hain has separately referred London-based lenders HSBC and Standard Chartered to the Financial Conduct Authority.

The allegations against Hogan Lovells centre around a controversial investigation it conducted for the South African Revenue Service (SARS) into allegations of financial misconduct against two of its staff, Jonas Makwakwa, its deputy chief, and his lover Kelly Ann Elskie, who was a low-level employee.

It was alleged around R1.7m (£100,000) was paid into their bank ­accounts over a six-year period. 

Allegedly suspicious transactions were identified by South Africa’s Financial Intelligence Committee, leading to Hogan Lovells’ investigation.

Hogan Lovells’ report recommended disciplinary action against Mr Makwakwa, but it has none the less been criticised by campaigners and politicians in South Africa for being too soft. 

Hogan Lovells had to account for the way it conducted its SARS investigation to a South African parliamentary committee last month. After Hogan Lovells’ investigation, Mr Makwakwa was later acquitted by an internal SARS inquiry and reinstated as its deputy chief in October last year following a suspension. 

No action was taken against Ms ­Elskie and nor was any recommended by Hogan Lovells.

Lord Hain is understood to have evidence from South Africa substantiating allegations of corruption against SARS, which he believes should have been uncovered by Hogan Lovells and ­reflected in its report.

South Africa’s president Jacob Zuma

Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg

In the Lords this week, he will claim Hogan Lovells was “complicit” in ­undermining SARS and this in turn helped bolster President Zuma and his associates the Guptas.

Lord Hain has asked the SRA to consider sanctioning Hogan Lovells or its leading partners.

Possible sanctions could include striking off individual lawyers or referring the firm to a disciplinary tribunal. Lord Hain was a leading campaigner against South Africa’s apartheid ­regime. He led opposition to tours by the South African tennis, rugby and cricket sides. 

In response to previous criticism of its investigation into SARS, Hogan Lovells has said its scope was “limited to identifying whether any misconduct had been committed by Mr Makwakwa and Ms ­Elskie as employees of SARS”.

“It did not seek to directly investigate the financial transactions identified by the FIC. We understand that all criminal-related allegations arising from the FIC report were referred to the relevant authorities for investigation,” it added. Hogan Lovells said SARS conducted its own internal disciplinary procedures after its report, which acquitted Mr Makwakwa of all charges.

An SRA spokesman said: “We take all complaints seriously and will look at any evidence given to us about alleged misconduct.” 

The Gupta brothers and Mr Zuma have repeatedly strongly denied wrongdoing and said they are the victims of a “politically motivated witch-hunt”. Last week, Coca-Cola’s South African businesses and energy giant Sasol said they would not award new business to McKinsey until a corruption inquiry into its work was concluded.

McKinsey has previously apologised for making “several errors of judgment” in its work with firms linked to the Gupta family but said it has found no evidence of corruption or bribery.

HSBC and Standard Chartered said they had shut accounts they believe are linked to the Guptas and are committed to combating financial crime.

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Firms impose new charges to dodge ban on credit card fees 

  • Soon companies won’t be able to add extra if someone pays by credit card
  • Yet there are no obstacles to adding a fee as long as it applies to everyone
  • So businesses, like Just Eat, will now add a service charge for every transaction

James Burton And Ruth Lythe For The Daily Mail

Firms are set to pocket millions of pounds by introducing rip-off charges to get around a ban on credit card fees.

From today, businesses are forbidden from imposing an extra charge if someone pays for a product or service by credit card.

Companies have always insisted the charges were only imposed to cover the extra fees they had to pay for the cost of processing credit card payments. Campaigners, however, said they were hugely inflated and a brazen customer rip-off.

It was hoped that the ban would save consumers £473million a year.

Firms are set to pocket millions of pounds by introducing rip-off charges to get around a ban on credit card fees

Firms are set to pocket millions of pounds by introducing rip-off charges to get around a ban on credit card fees

Firms are set to pocket millions of pounds by introducing rip-off charges to get around a ban on credit card fees

But it has now emerged that some firms are trying to get around it. Travel agents, takeaway firms, airlines and football clubs have already admitted the dodge.

Although the new rules ban discrimination against anyone using a particular form of payment, there are no obstacles to adding an extra fee as long as it applies to everyone equally.

Businesses have seized the opportunity to charge more, imposing new ‘service charges’ or extra commission to ensure they don’t lose out.

MPs and campaigners last night slammed firms for trying to get around the ban, saying their plans were deeply cynical.

Hannah Maundrell, of comparison website, said: ‘This makes a mockery of the law which is trying to protect us from getting ripped off.’

Takeaway delivery business Just Eat was one of the first to announce a fee hike in the wake of the European Union-wide ban.

It previously charged 50p when a card was used to book an order, but has now imposed this ‘service charge’ on all orders.

Research by Barclays investment bank suggests the new charges will add as much as £15million to revenues because customers who pay with cash will now be charged extra.

Travel agents thought they would face a tight squeeze with the new rules. According to accountant RSM, the industry is braced for a £150million hit.

But a survey by data company Wex found that 21 per cent of agents expected to charge all customers a new ‘booking fee’ to recover their profits.

Takeaway delivery business Just Eat was one of the first to announce a fee hike in the wake of the European Union-wide ban

Takeaway delivery business Just Eat was one of the first to announce a fee hike in the wake of the European Union-wide ban

Takeaway delivery business Just Eat was one of the first to announce a fee hike in the wake of the European Union-wide ban

And another 29 per cent said they will put up the overall cost of holidays.

As long ago as August, the Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO) told the 122 holiday firms it represents to introduce a flat 0.5 per cent commission on all bookings received through travel agents.

Kate Kenward, of AITO, said: ‘Members are bound by our code of conduct and provide their specialist holiday services over and above the requirements of the package travel regulations and other legal requirements.’

Airlines could employ the same tactic. Ryanair only stopped charging 2 per cent per booking this week – at the last possible moment.

But boss Michael O’Leary is widely expected to put up prices elsewhere.

Alex Paterson, a transport analyst at Investec bank, said: ‘Currently, businesses can only pass on payment charges that genuinely reflect their costs.

‘Many airlines charge in excess of this, with Ryanair charging 2 per cent, and we expect them to increase underlying prices to compensate.’

A Ryanair spokesman said: ‘We don’t comment on analyst speculation.’ There are also reports of football clubs adding flat fees to avoid a profit hit. 

Swansea City is forcing fans to pay as much as a £2.50 fee a ticket even if they hand over cash at the counter, on top of the advertised price. It triggered a backlash from fans, who branded the club ‘a joke’.

Swansea City is forcing fans to pay as much as a £2.50 fee a ticket even if they hand over cash at the counter, on top of the advertised price

Swansea City is forcing fans to pay as much as a £2.50 fee a ticket even if they hand over cash at the counter, on top of the advertised price

Swansea City is forcing fans to pay as much as a £2.50 fee a ticket even if they hand over cash at the counter, on top of the advertised price

Swansea said the changes were ‘largely due to the new Government legislation’.

And a source close to the club said they believed rival teams could follow suit in coming days.

The taxman has also been attacked for hypocrisy after HMRC stopped taking credit cards to avoid the extra cost of paying providers’ fees itself.

However, an MP gave a stern warning to companies trying to dodge the rules.

Speaking in a personal capacity, Rachel Reeves, chairman of the business select committee, said: ‘Companies should not be fleecing customers by charging an additional fee in an attempt to get around the ban.

‘The effectiveness of the ban should be monitored by the Government and the regulator.’

She added: ‘If necessary, they must take action to stop companies from shamelessly misleading customers.’

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Law Firm Carothers DiSante & Freudenberger LLP Welcomes New Partner

Teresa W. Ghali

Teresa W. Ghali

SAN FRANCISCOJan. 11, 2018PRLog — Carothers DiSante & Freudenberger LLP (CDF), an award-winning California employment, labor and immigration law firm recognized for protecting California employers for more than 20 years, announces the promotion of Teresa W. Ghali to Partner in its San Francisco office. In her new leadership capacity, Ghali will advise and defend California employers against class actions and single plaintiff claims in federal and state courts, as well as administrative proceedings before the EEOC, DLSE, and DFEH.

Ghali’s areas of practice include class actions, wage and hour issues, EEO litigation, and wrongful termination litigation. Her recent successes as an experienced trial and appellate attorney include obtaining: denial of class certification in Duran v. U.S. Bank (Alameda Cty. Sup. Ct. 2016); class decertification in Trahan v. U.S. Bank (N.D. Cal. 2015); and summary judgment in a single plaintiff wrongful termination action, Parker v. Comcast (N.D. Cal. 2017).  Ghali has also resolved wage and hour claims before state administrative agencies and settled numerous single plaintiff lawsuits prior to and during litigation.

“Teresa possesses and exemplifies the characteristics we’re seeking in a partner,” said CDF Northern California Labor Litigator Partner Mark S. Spring. “Since joining our firm, she has repeatedly proven her aptitude and knowledge. We have no doubt that with Teresa joining our firm partnership, our Bay Area office will keep thriving and delivering outstanding results to our clients.”

Ghali is a regular contributor to the California Employment Law Letter, a biweekly newsletter that keeps California in-house counsel, managers and HR professionals apprised of new statewide employment laws and developments. In 2010, Ghali spent two months as a volunteer Deputy District Attorney in Marin County, and in that capacity, prosecuted five jury trials and a bench trial to verdict.

Her stellar track record of defending employers in employment, breach of contract, and insurance matters has earned Ghali her place on the Super Lawyers Northern California Rising Star list for the past eight years, a recognition bestowed upon less than 2.5 percent of attorneys in each state.

Ghali graduated from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall), where she served as editor of the Asian American Law Journal and was a board and founding member of the Chinese Law Society. She is also the recipient of the American Jurisprudence Awards in the Global Migration Seminar & International Human Right Clinic. Ghali received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Spanish from University of California, Berkeley, where she graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa.

About Carothers DiSante & Freudenberger LLP

For more than 20 years, Carothers DiSante & Freudenberger LLP has distinguished itself as one of the top employment, labor and immigration firms in California, representing employers in single-plaintiff and class action lawsuits and advising employers on related legal compliance and risk avoidance.  The firm has five offices throughout California – in Sacramento, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego. For more information, visit: and find CDF on LinkedIn or Twitter to learn more about how the firm protects California employers.

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Downtown Durham Gets 20 Trees from Law Offices of James Scott…

James Scott Farrin employees and other volunteers came out to Burch Avenue Park in downtown Durham to plant 20 Ginkgo trees along Burch Avenue and Wilkerson Street to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin.

DURHAM, N.C. (PRWEB) January 11, 2018

Employees of the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin and others came out to Burch Avenue Park in downtown Durham to plant 20 six-foot-tall Ginkgo trees to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the personal injury law firm.

The trees were planted on Burch Avenue near the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church and the Emily Kryzewski Family Life Center.

Volunteers included the Tree Keepers, staff from Keep Durham Beautiful, and the City of Durham, as well as President and Founder, James S. Farrin and several law firm employees. Farrin was presented with the first tree.

“These trees symbolize our roots in Durham and the growth we have enjoyed, as well as our commitment to a greener future,” Farrin said.

Since its inception in 1997, the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin has recovered in excess of $700 million* for more than 30,000 clients in North Carolina. Plus, the firm helped lead a team of law firms in obtaining a historic $1.25 billion settlement* for 18,400 claimants who were discriminated against by the United States government.

The firm embraces and promotes ample opportunities for social and community involvement among its employees. Environmental friendliness has become a large part of this community effort. So when the 20th anniversary celebration was being discussed, it came naturally to firm employees to give back to the community in a very environmentally friendly and long-lasting way. Plant 20 large trees in downtown Durham – where the firm (among the largest in North Carolina) has had its roots since 1997. The firm donated funds to Keep Durham Beautiful who purchased the 20 Ginkgo trees from Tree Keepers.

Their environmental “Green Team” has a very large representation with about 50 employees strong. In one of the team’s first efforts, they stopped using Styrofoam cups in all state-wide offices. They estimate they have saved the planet from 27,000 cups in just two years – an amount as tall as 10 Eifel Towers by their estimation.

According to the firm, employees also try to be aware of paper usage, which can be difficult for a law firm. They have reduced paper consumption by transitioning some of their more paper-focused firm processes to electronic communications and they say they are making strides in these efforts. Other pro-environmental efforts include:

  • Organizing the firm’s first annual Earth Day event at the American Tobacco Campus, where more than 200 people and 11 eco-minded businesses and non-profits attended.
  • Adopting easier, more efficient, and more user-friendly recycling stations.
  • Composting food waste and coffee grounds. The firm estimates that over 500 lbs. of food waste has been diverted away from the landfill since they began composting a few months ago. Compost Now (the company they use to compost) said the firm has avoided releasing 68 lbs. of methane from entering the atmosphere which is equivalent to taking a car off the road for almost 3,000 miles.
  • Adopting a one-mile stretch of Walnut Creek Trail in Raleigh for regular clean ups, and promoting environmental clean-up outings for employees and their families.
  • Promoting alternative transportation among employees to help reduce carbon emissions.
  • Using a car fleet with an EcoBoost option to help reduce carbon emissions.
  • Shredding documents through a service that recycles.

Visit James Scott Farrin Facebook for photos of the James Scott Farrin 20th anniversary tree planting in downtown Durham.

*Each case is unique and must be evaluated on its own merits. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Re Black Farmers Discrimination Litigation, the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin led a team of firms to recover $1.25 billion for African-American farmers from the U. S. government for discrimination.


The Law Offices of James Scott Farrin is headquartered in the American Tobacco Historic District, adjacent to the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, in Durham, North Carolina, with 13 additional offices statewide in Charlotte, Fayetteville, Greensboro, Greenville, Goldsboro, Henderson, New Bern, Raleigh, Roanoke Rapids, Rocky Mount, Sanford, Wilson, and Winston-Salem. The firm’s 44 attorneys focus on the following practice areas: Personal Injury, Workers’ Compensation, Social Security Disability, Eminent Domain, Intellectual Property, Civil Rights, Mass Torts, and Products Liability. Seven of the attorneys are North Carolina Board Certified Specialists in Workers’ Compensation Law and one is a North Carolina Board Certified Specialist in Social Security Disability Law. The Law Offices of James Scott Farrin is involved in the community, including sponsorship of local philanthropic organizations.

Contact Information:

David Chamberlin

280 S. Mangum Street, Suite 400

Durham, NC 27701


For the original version on PRWeb visit:

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Boulder DA Stan Garnett resigning to take ‘crazy to pass up’ job at old law firm

District Attorney Stan Garnett is resigning two years into his third and final term as Boulder County’s top prosecutor to take a senior partner position at a private law firm in Denver.

Garnett, 61, on Thursday announced he will leave the office at the end of February to join the litigation department at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, the firm that employed him before he was elected district attorney in 2009.

“After talking about what they had in mind I decided it was an opportunity I would be crazy to pass up,” Garnett said. “I’m now in my 10th year (as district attorney). I feel like I’ve given a lot to the community in public service.”

Garnett sent a letter to Gov. John Hickenlooper on Thursday informing the governor of his decision; Hickenlooper now will select a replacement DA.

“We are delighted to welcome Stan back to the firm,” said Adam Agron, Brownstein’s managing partner, in a statement. “Our firm was built on a commitment to public service and we have no doubt that our clients and colleagues will benefit from Stan’s experience and exceptional record leading Boulder’s district attorney’s office.”

Garnett said law firms began approaching him soon after the November 2016 election, when voters defeated a measure that would have given him the ability to seek a fourth term.


“My third term will be up when I’m 64,” he said. “I love being a lawyer and I anticipate working into my 70s, so I’ve been looking at different options.”

The job at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck is not one that can wait, so Garnett said he can’t finish out his term, which would have run through the end of 2020. But with more than nine years under his belt, Garnett already is the second-longest tenured Boulder County district attorney since statehood.

“The timing is a little earlier than I would have liked, because I really enjoyed being district attorney,” he said. “On the other hand, when you look at the history of district attorneys since term limits, it’s reasonable timing.”

For now, Garnett will turn his attention to helping Hickenlooper’s office select a replacement, who will finish out the rest of Garnett’s term. He’s hoping a successor will be named before the end of the month so he will have some time to work side-by-side with the new DA and ease the transition.

Garnett could not say who might be in line for the top prosecutor’s slot, other than, “There are a number of people who very much would like this job.”

Whoever takes his place will have a busy year ahead, with five homicide trials currently scheduled to take place in 2018 and another homicide case making its way through the system.

But Garnett, who is not the trial lawyer on any of those cases, said he thinks the office will be fine, even with the busy schedule.

“We’ve been able to build a terrific team of excellent trial lawyers from top to bottom, led right now by (assistant district attorneys) Ken Kupfner and Katharina Booth,” he said. “I’m confident we have the excellent staff we need to handle all of those cases.”

‘He will truly be missed’

Upon taking office in 2009, and succeeding Alex Hunter and Mary Lacy, Garnett said he saw two areas that needed improvement.

“When I took over the office, I felt the office wasn’t in touch enough with the community and we weren’t going to trial enough,” he said.

To remedy that, Garnett sought to make Boulder County a place that both attracted experienced trial attorneys and also trained new ones.

“Boulder is not a high crime jurisdiction, though we have plenty of crime,” he said. “But we do have a fair number of what I call marquee cases. Cases that are covered closely by the Denver press, and sometimes by national press, that are complicated and difficult cases. I always wanted to make sure we had the kind of lawyers in my office who could handle those cases.”

Boulder police Chief Greg Testa said that willingness to prosecute cases endeared him to law enforcement.

“I have appreciated Stan very much and the work he has done to build trust and a solid working relationship between the DA’s office and law enforcement in the county,” Testa said. “His office was not afraid to take cases to trial and he made good sound decisions in applying the law.”

One of the lawyers Garnett brought in was Ryan Brackley, who was a homicide prosecutor in New York who became Garnett’s Assistant District Attorney and was a lead prosecutor on many of the district’s big cases before leaving for the Denver DA’s office last year.

“When Stan contacted me in the summer of 2008 I was intrigued by the opportunity to go to the Boulder DA’s Office with him and help to transform that office into what would be one of the great DA’s offices in Colorado,” Brackley said, adding that Garnett had a unique set of skills as a result of being at a private firm and being elected to a school board in addition to his work as a prosecutor.

“He drew from his diverse experience,” Brackley said. “He brought a new and unique vision to how a public law office should run.”

Garnett said he has always tried to encourage residents to voice any concerns to his office, and be a visible presence in the community at speaking events.

“My view is that, as an elected official, I should talk to anybody who wants to talk to me,” he said. “I will miss the debate, and I will miss engaging those people.”

Garnett did admit, though, that he would not miss being a publicly elected official at all hours of the day.

“Boulder is a community with a lot of people who have opinions about everything, and some of them have a lot of time on their hands,” he said. “I do sometimes get a little tired of walking through Whole Foods on a Sunday afternoon and somebody taking me aside and wanting to talk about something. That’s fine as an elected official. But I won’t miss that.”

Garnett also said he is proud of the work his office has done in community protection, sexual-assault and cold-case prosecution.

“Stan Garnett has raised the bar in Boulder County when it comes to the quality of prosecutions, hiring and promoting great staff, public transparency, and the relationship the DA’s office has with law enforcement,” Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle said in a statement. “Under Stan’s leadership, the DA’s office focused intently on protecting the rights of the disenfranchised and vulnerable populations in our communities. He will truly be missed.

“However, I understand the need look out for himself and his family in the future, and this sounds like a wonderful opportunity.”

One thing Garnett said he wishes he had been able to do in his time in office was make more progress on the physical remodeling of the Boulder County Justice Center.

“The office is very inadequate for a modern law office, and I’ve been working with the county to get that remodeled since I became the DA,” Garnett said. “It’s been a long, slow process.”

‘There is an energy to the pursuit of justice’

Garnett has at times flirted with the idea of leaving the Boulder DA’s Office during his term, though most of his possible destinations in the past had been other elected or appointed positions.

He made a run for attorney general in 2010, and mulled running again in 2018 but ultimately decided against it. He also decided not to run for Jared Polis’ Congressional seat but did not rule out a run for Congress in 2020.

While he is leaving public office for now, Garnett said he would not rule out returning at some point.

“I’m going to enjoy this for a few more years, but if my health holds up, I enjoy being involved in public debate,” he said.

Brackley said he was surprised to hear that Garnett went back to private practice.

“At the same time, Stan and I always told our staff to look for bigger and better things and embrace the opportunity to grow,” Brackley said. “I’m glad Stan was willing to follow his own advice and follow his heart.”

Garnett said the new job will allow him to possibly help the firm expand into Mexico and Latin America. He also said he is looking forward to being able to handle cases in different jurisdictions.

“I’ll miss working in Boulder, but occasionally Boulder becomes a little insular,” Garnett said. “It sort of forgets that there is a rest of the world out there. That’s one of the things that struck me the minute I became DA: these folks need to get out more, there are other counties, other judicial districts, other states where we can learn from what they do.

“I enjoy handling cases in other jurisdictions where nobody knows who you are.”

But Garnett said his staff in Boulder is what he will miss the most when he leaves.

“I’m going to miss the people, the people in my office who work very hard in not-always-easy conditions to do the right thing in court,” he said. “They are wonderful people, and there is an energy to the pursuit of justice in a DA’s office that is a wonderful thing to be around.”

As for advice for the person who takes Garnett’s place?

“I’m a strong believer that he American justice system is excellent,” Garnett said. “If a district has excellent lawyers on both sides of the podium and strong judges, justice will be done in almost every case. I hope the office will continue the tradition of professionalism and excellence I think we’ve established.”

Mitchell Byars: 303-473-1329, or

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Sebi curb: Price Waterhouse set to lose 75 listed firms to rivals

PW was the statutory auditor for 85 listed firms in 2016-17, and these firms spent Rs 1 billion on audit expenses during the year

Krishna Kant  | 

Birla Sun Life Mutual Fund

The hit on Price Waterhouse (PW) has opened up new business opportunities worth over Rs 1 billion for other auditing firms in the country. The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) had on Wednesday banned PW from auditing listed companies for two years. PW was the statutory auditor for 85 listed companies in 2016-17, and these companies spent Rs 1 billion on audit expenses during the year.

This financial year, PW has around 75 listed firms on its roster.

Experts say auditing assignments with large companies also open opportunities for big accounting firms in the areas of tax advisory, management and business consultancy services, which can generate much higher revenue than the audit business. The analysis is based on the audited expenses of all listed companies, and includes the PW network of accounting firms Price Waterhouse, Lovelock & Lewes, and Dalal & Shah. ALSO READ: Sebi order against Price Waterhouse has audit profession in a tizzy Once the ban period is over, many of these firms may go back to PW, as the law requires listed companies to rotate their auditors every 10 years. “But some may decide not to go back to PW for the reputational risk that the name now carries with auditors. Loss of auditing clients may also impact PW’s supplementary businesses in India,” said a senior corporate executive on condition of anonymity. PW added marquee clients such as Tata Steel, Hindalco, and Ashok Leyland this financial year. Last year, it audited the accounts of leading listed firms such as IndusInd Bank, Bajaj group firms such as Bajaj Auto and Bajaj Finance, Glaxo, Motherson Sumi, and Marico. ALSO READ: Price Waterhouse clients to work on looking for alternative after Sebi ban After the Sebi order, these companies will have to look out for new auditors. Experts, however, say they should wait for the outcome of likely appeals by PW against the Sebi order at the Securities Appellate Tribunal. In all, PW clients during FY17 accounted for nearly 8 per cent of the combined market capitalisation of all listed companies and 6 per cent and 4.5 per cent of the universe combined net profits and net sales in FY17. Auditors are also a worried lot as they would have to increase the scrutiny on accounts, leading to an increase in their efforts. graph graph

First Published: Fri, January 12 2018. 02:38 IST

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