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U.S. Probe of KPMG Widens to Another Firm

Feb 24, 2004 | Wall Street Journal

Federal prosecutors investigating certain tax shelters sold by KPMG LLP have contacted at least one other tax-advice firm, Presidio Advisory Services LLC, which a Senate panel has said was an adviser in some of the transactions, Tuesday's Wall Street Journal reported.

KPMG, the big accounting firm, said last week that federal authorities in Manhattan had launched an investigation "in connection with certain tax strategies." The prosecutors appear to be focusing on at least three tax shelters, known by the acronyms FLIP, OPIS and BLIPS, sold by accounting firm KPMG to wealthy individuals, people familiar with the matter say.

All three are complex strategies targeted at wealthy individuals and designed to create often-large paper investment losses to offset unrelated taxable income. Multiple firms were involved in the sale of the strategies, including banks Deutsche Bank AG (NYSE:DB - News) and Wachovia Corp. (NYSE:WB - News) and the law firm now known as Sidley Austin Brown & Wood LLP.

Representatives for Deutsche Bank, Sidley Austin and Wachovia declined to comment on whether they had been contacted by federal authorities. A spokesperson for the U.S. prosecutor's office in Manhattan couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

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