The Norwegian branch of KPMG International will pay $53.6 million to eight banks in order to settle damages over one of the country's worst bankruptcies.

In June, the accounting firm was ordered to pay $100 million in damages, after Oslo's district court found that the accounting group was negligent in auditing the books of Finance Credit.

KPMG's Norwegian branch and the banks said that they sought a settlement to avoid years of court battles.

Finance Credit's 2003 bankruptcy was one of the worst in the country's history, and it owed about $200 million to eight different banks when it went out of business. The company's founder was sentenced to nine years in prison and ordered to pay $185 million earlier this year, after he was found guilty of fraud, hiding assets and other accounting violations.In its ruling, the Oslo court said that by the close of 2000, Finance Credit was insolvent, which KPMG's Norwegian branch should have realized. Finance Credit's chief business was collection agency services.

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