When any kind of big-ticket corporate fraud is unearthed in an overseas unit of a massive corporation, then it is often noticed that the top executives of the corporation in question distance themselves from the whole mess. Sometimes, it may be true, but sometimes it may turn out to be a totally false and that it what seems to have happened with British Telecom (BT) and its accounting fraud affair at its Italian unit. The accounting fraud had been unearthed some years ago, and the British telecom company had to pay £530 million pounds in penalties for their negligence. However, it seems a bigger scandal is brewing with the financial offences arm of the Italian police now directly accusing that top executives were aware of the whole thing.
When the scandal was first unearthed, the company had paid the fine and maintained that the key executives at its United Kingdom office were in the dark about any kind of wrongdoing. The police in Italy released a sprawling report that ran into 353 pages and stated that the Italian executives had been in constant contact with their superiors in the head office throughout the whole affair. The report states, “A series of emails between the top financial executives of BT Plc and managers of the unit point to the existence of ‘insistent’ requests by the leadership of the parent company aimed at achieving ambitious economic targets, even using aggressive, anomalous and knowingly wrong accounting practices.” These are extremely serious allegations and if it is eventually proven to be true then BT could be in for a log of trouble in the near future.
One of the key executives who has been accused of having been hand in glove with the rogue executive in Italy is Brian More O’Ferrall. O’Ferrall is now a director of finance at the company’s Wholesale unit but it has been reported that at the time when this fraudulent affair went down, he had asked the Italian executives to cook the books in order to raise the profit margins for the company. After the report broke, many media companies tried to contact O’Ferrall, and other executives in the company but all of them refused to comment. However, a spokesperson from the company stated that BT is not going to comment on legal proceedings that are still in progress.