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DFSA fines unregistered audit firm

The Dubai International Financial Centre’s regulator has fined a Dubai-based audit firm Dh55,000, the fifth penalty issued in the past three months.

The Dubai International Financial Centre’s regulator has fined a Dubai-based audit firm Dh55,000, the fifth penalty issued in the past three months.

The Dubai Financial Services Authority yesterday said it had imposed the fine on Middle East Auditing Office for auditing the financial statements of a DIFC-based company without being properly registered.

A DFSA investigation found that the firm agreed to audit three sets of the unnamed company’s financial statements.

Despite the fine, Middle East Auditing Office would be permitted to audit DIFC companies if it registers with the regulator, a DFSA spokeswoman said.

The DFSA imposed no fine on the company whose accounts were audited by Middle East Auditing Office, she said.

The regulator imposed the fine while acting under a delegation from its Registrar of Companies to conduct investigations on its behalf, according to the DFSA.

It is the first such fine imposed by the DFSA while acting under such a delegation.

“Auditors play an integral role in complying with governance, compliance and financial standards,” said Ian Johnston, the DFSA’s chief executive. “They are the first line of defence against impropriety and systems and controls failures.

“The Registrar of Companies and the DFSA registers auditors so that they comply with our high audit standards. In so doing, clients of DIFC companies are better protected.”

Last month, the DFSA banned a former financial adviser from providing financial services in the DIFC for six years.

In September, the DFSA imposed fines on two private bankers – one for overstating a client’s wealth, and the other for defrauding a client – and banned one of them for six years.

That same month, the regulator enforced a penalty of US$50,000 against United Investment Bank after an investigation revealed the lender’s failure to provide appropriate safeguards for its financial products.

jeverington@thenational.ae

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