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Slaters' financial auditing probed by ASIC

Slaters' financial auditing probed by ASIC

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission has ordered Slater & Gordon to provide documents as part of an investigation into whether financial accounts were doctored.

The law firm received two notices to produce financial documents to the corporate watchdog on Tuesday afternoon.

Slater & Gordon made its own ASX statement yesterday, which said that the ASIC probe does not indicate the firm has actually breached the law. The law firm added that it would “fully cooperate” with investigations to ensure that the process is finalised “as soon as reasonably possible”.

“ASIC has stated that these notices should not be construed as an indication by ASIC that a contravention of the law has occurred,” the statement read.

“Nor should they be considered a reflection upon any person or entity.”

The corporate watchdog is looking into whether Slaters’ financial records and accounts for the period 1 December 2014 - 19 September 2015 have been “deliberately falsified or manipulated”. It is also looking into whether any offences have been committed by the company or any of its officers, the statement said.

The firm has advised that the information requested will need to be produced to ASIC by January next year.

This latest investigation follows an earlier probe into Slaters’ financial accounts for 2013-14 and 2014-15, which ASIC concluded in February this year.

In August, Slaters posted a widely expected annual loss of $1.017 billion after tax, down 1,731 per cent on the corresponding year.

Commenting on the global firm’s performance in Australia at the time, managing director Andrew Grech said that improving governance and reporting processes was key to the company’s domestic strength.

“We’ll continue to improve our governance and reporting systems and processes. We’ve made significant headway in this area over the last several months and we intend to continue that,” Mr Grech said.

*A typo correction to the first quote replacing "corporate" with "cooperate" was made after publication.

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