Exclusive Exclusive: Authorities Review KPMG Liability in Hahn Airport Debacle

Rhineland-Palatinate is reviewing whether or not the consulting firm KPMG can be held liable for the botched Frankfurt-Hahn Airport deal, the state’s Interior Ministry told Handelsblatt. KPMG had signed off on the sale of Frankfurt-Hahn Airport to an obscure Chinese investor, Shanghai Yiqian Trading, for €13.5 million ($14.8 million). Rhineland-Palatinate, the airport’s majority owner, was forced to cancel the deal after Shanghai Yiqian Trading failed to make payments on time. “Digging a little bit deeper into the available Chinese sources would have led to a bright red flag,” Rudolf Scharping, the former premier of Rhineland-Palatinate, told Handelsblatt. Chinese sources flagged Shanghai Yiqian Trading as a “shell company without credibility or credit worthiness,” said Mr. Scharping, who now consults for German and Chinese companies. It’s not the first time that Amsterdam-based KPMG, one of the big four accounting firms, has run into trouble. Sixteen years ago, KPMG had to pay €50 million in damages because it certified falsified balance sheets for the Baden-based conglomerate FlowTex. Rhineland-Palatinate is now in search of a new buyer for Frankfurt-Hahn Airport. “We will do everything to bring the sale to an end with new bidders,” Malu Dreyer, the premier of Rhineland-Palatinate, told Handelsblatt. Read the full story in Tuesday’s Handelsblatt Global Edition. Picture Source: DPA