The Globe and Mail reports in its Wednesday edition that Big Four accounting firm Ernst & Young will pay $100-million (U.S.) to settle Securities and Exchange Commission charges that its auditors cheated on certified public accounting (CPA) exams and that it misled the agency's investigators. A Reuters dispatch to The Globe says that the London-based auditor admitted to the charges and agreed to pay what the SEC said is its largest fine against an auditor. "EY acknowledges the findings determined by the SEC," said Brendan Mullin, EY media relations director. "At EY, nothing is more important than our integrity and our ethics." The CPA is the key qualification for accountants in the United States. EY has also agreed to "undertake extensive remedial measures to fix the firm's ethical issues," the SEC said. The Wall Street watchdog found that 49 EY professionals "obtained or circulated" answer keys to CPA licence exams, while hundreds of others cheated to complete the continuing professional education components relating to CPA ethics. "It's simply outrageous that the very professionals responsible for catching cheating by clients cheated on ethics exams," said Gurbir Grewal, the SEC's enforcement director.
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