Hi, it's Paul here.

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Quindell postscript

This announcement caught my eye. The audit firm which signed off Quindell's dodgy accounts for 2010/11 has been fined £700k + £90k costs by the Financial Reporting Council (FRC). This obscure body supposedly polices published accounts. However it rarely seems to take action, and when it does, is very slow.

The audit partner responsible, has also been reprimanded (big deal!) and fined £56k - which is not a material sum of money to a partner in a decent-sized accountancy firm. Also, look at the timeline - it's now 7 years from those incorrect accounts being created. Hardly a rapid response team!

As longer term readers here will remember, I was consistently very bearish on Quindell, since its accounts were fairly obviously highly suspect. Excessive debtors, excessive capitalisation into intangible assets, and a flurry of acquisitions to muddy the waters, are the usual give-aways of fake profits, so these dodgy companies are really terribly easy to spot. You can spot a highly abnormal balance sheet in just a few seconds, so it really doesn't take any particular forensic accounting skills to uncover dodgy companies with false profits. You just have to have your wits about you.

The same was true with Globo. It was amazing how much venom from deluded fools in the investing community my bearish comments attracted over these 2 dodgy companies. There was even an attempt to get me sacked from this role at Stockopedia, by Quindell/Globo shareholders cancelling their Stockopedia subscriptions! Of course, Ed put editorial integrity before short term revenues, backing me to the hilt. That I was proven correct by subsequent events, was very satisfying.

Anyway, the perpetrators of the Quindell and Globo frauds are still at large, with their ill-gotten gains, having relieved gullible UK investors of hundreds of millions of pounds. As I sadly commented to an investor friend at the weekend, white collar crime in the UK very much does pay. The action taken by the FRC, reported today, is too little, too late, in my view, to properly punish, or deter, the same sort of thing happening again.

Kudos by the way, to Tom Winnifrith, for his tireless, obsessive exposure of multiple wrongdoings at both Quindell and Globo. People may not like his style, but he's…

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