May 12, 2014 / 1:16 PM / 5 years ago

Dutch head of KPMG resigns amid criminal investigation

The street level sign of the KPMG buliding in downtown Los Angeles is shown April 10, 2013. REUTERS/Sam Mircovich

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The head of KPMG KPMG.UL in the Netherlands resigned on Monday, the accounting firm said in a statement, less than a month after authorities launched a criminal investigation into alleged tax fraud at its joint venture to develop 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 executives.

Van Breukelen said in Monday’s statement that his decision would help the company make necessary changes. “It is then up to me as the person ultimately responsible to reinforce that signal,” he said.

A KPMG spokesman and prosecutors were not immediately available to comment.

A statement from Dutch prosecutors last month said they suspected the joint venture of having been 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 statement said.

As part of the investigation, prosecutors searched several KPMG sites and two private homes. It was unclear if these included Van Breukelen’s home.

Reporting By Anthony Deutsch; Editing by David Goodman

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