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Curse of the failed auditor

Revelations that Andersen was involved in drawing up Cable & Wireless’s tax planning strategy is likely to worry some investors.

Andersen was auditor of Enron and tried to save both it and its client’s reputation by shredding documents that related to secret off-balance-sheet partnerships that brought the energy group down. It also audited WorldCom, the telecoms group that fraudulently booked expenses to boost profits, and Global Crossing, which improperly booked revenues from deals relating to telecoms capacity.

Other Andersen clients that have run into difficulties include Waste Management, the US recycling group forced to restate profits, and HIH Insurance, the insurer, which collapsed in 2001.

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