(Adds background on previous case)
AMSTERDAM May 12 The head of KPMG in
the Netherlands resigned on Monday, the accounting firm said,
less than a month after authorities launched a criminal
investigation into alleged tax fraud at a venture it set up to
build a new Dutch headquarters.
Jurgen van Breukelen, who was in the position for less than
two years, said he was stepping down to enable the company to
break from "the recent past of misjudgments and errors".
Last month, Dutch authorities said they had launched a
criminal investigation into the joint venture between KPMG and a
project developer, including the role of two unidentified
It is the second time in less than a year that authorities
have investigated alleged wrongdoing at the Dutch operations of
KPMG, which makes much of its business from auditing the
accounts of other companies.
In December, KPMG said prosecutors had been investigating
three former accountants at KPMG Accountants NV and that it had
settled with authorities for 7 million euros ($9.63 million).
A KPMG spokesman said van Breukelen was not among those
people being investigated, but that one was a former KPMG
partner. Prosecutors were not immediately available to comment.
Van Breukelen's "role and effectiveness in leading the firm
through these issues and the probes has been hampered by the
fact that attention has focused on his personal situation and
personal role", said the spokesman, Eric Bouwmeester.
Dutch prosecutors said last month they suspected the joint
venture set up to develop of the new Dutch HQ was used to boost
costs in tax filings to Dutch authorities with the aim of
reducing taxable income.
"The project developer is also suspected of fake billing.
This may have led to millions of euros in avoided taxes," the
prosecutors said in a statement.
As part of the investigation, the prosecutors searched
several KPMG sites and two private homes.
($1 = 0.7269 Euros)
(Reporting By Anthony Deutsch; editing by David Goodman and Tom