I am a football fan. I know some don't understand the game. But for me it's a part of life. As is Ipswich Town FC. I spent part of my youth on the terraces at Portman Road and have never got over it.
As such the fact that Leeds United FC are in trouble is, by itself, not of much concern to me. Like most football fans I don't have a great love for Leeds. Sorry, but they just don't deserve it.
That said, nor do they deserve the treatment they have got from KPMG. Let me summarise this. Leeds went bust at the end of last season. For a day or so. To approve the sale of the club to new owners (who look remarkably similar to the old ones) 75% of the creditors had to agree. The majority of the creditors were offshore companies, the identities of which aren't known expect, apparently to Ken Bates (and his lawyer) who claims though that he has no interest in them. They voted for the sale to a new company directed by Ken Bates even though other deals on the table would have paid those companies (and the other creditors) much more than the deal they went for.
Now do you smell something fishy in that? I thought you might.
Dear old KPMG though bought it hook, line and sinker. Their role was key. As insolvency administrators they had to agree that the creditors were unconnected to allow the resolution to pass. As the Guardian has reported:
Mark Taylor, a director of Leeds who is Bates's solicitor, told the meeting that Astor and Forward [the two offshore companies owed money as creditors] had been connected in June last year but that he had ensured they were disconnected last December. The administrator said he had been assured in writing by Astor, and in sworn declarations from Bates and Taylor, that the offshore entities were not connected.
Several creditors have since said they are unhappy that no detailed explanation was given of the relationship between the offshore entities, and how any connection was severed. Willis's motion calls on KPMG to "explain why it failed to ascertain the beneficiaries of Astor Investments Holding [sic] . . . and Krato Trust . . . who agreed to write off £13m and £2.4m debts, and to seek explanations."
KPMG said in response that because Astor and Krato were owned overseas "it was not for us to discover any more about their ownership than Mark Taylor and Ken Bates assuring us that they were not connected parties".
I can think of quite a lot of words I could use to describe KPMG's performance, but there are better things to be sued about. So I'll settle for gullible incompetence.