Brussels (Jan. 8, 2004) -- In an effort to protect its reputation from the effects of the Parmalat scandal embroiling its Italian member firm, Grant Thornton International on Thursday terminated its relationship with Grant Thornton SpA in Italy.

“As a result of our ongoing investigation it is clear that Grant Thornton SpA will not be able to operate in the foreseeable future in an effective way to protect the reputation of the Grant Thornton International name and the reputation of the other independent firms in the Grant Thornton International network,” said David McDonnell, chief executive of Grant Thornton International.

McDonnell said the Italian practice has been “unable to provide sufficient assurances or access to the appropriate information and people in an acceptable timeframe.” He concluded, “We have lost confidence in Grant Thornton SpA and are therefore acting clearly and decisively to protect our clients and the reputation of all of the other independent firms in the international network.”

GTI said it will continue to cooperate with authorities.

The expulsion is effective immediately. Grant Thornton International said it is taking immediate action to provide alternative support for international clients of its other member firms doing business in Italy.

The network’s U.S. member firm, Grant Thornton LLP, said it supported the move. “Providing our clients with the highest quality service is our first priority and as we have said previously, Grant Thornton LLP adheres to clear and precisely articulated standards, practices and values,” said Ed Nusbaum, chief executive officer of Grant Thornton LLP. “We do not tolerate behavior that deviates from our ethical standards.”

-- WebCPA staff

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