By CHRISTINA REXRODE
NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ Scott London, the auditor accused of leaking private information about two client companies, says he was trying to help a friend struggling with money problems, and feels terrible about the damage he's done, according to a statement released through his lawyer and in interviews.
London, 50, worked at KPMG for nearly 30 years before he was fired from the Los Angeles office last week. KMPG also resigned as auditor of Herbalife and Skechers, the two companies that he is accused of leaking information about.
Companies hire accounting firms like KPMG to certify that their own financial reports are accurate, which means KPMG employees have access to private information about client companies. London said he started leaking information about Herbalife and Skechers "a few years back," trying to help "someone whose business was struggling.""On a few occasions over the past few years, this individual would ask if he should buy or sell a stock and I gave him my thoughts indicating whether the stock was a good buy or not," London said in the statement, which did not name the other person. "Never once did I pass any documents to him, but rather we spoke on the phone and the information I provided was in the form of a suggestion." The other person used the inside information to trade stocks. In his statement, London said he wasn't sure how much the other person benefited from the information. The L.A. Times, which interviewed London, said the friend made as much as $100,000. Harland Braun, a well-known Los Angeles defense lawyer, said London was struggling to come up with a reason for his actions. Braun said London decided to release a statement because he wanted to "minimize the damage" to people he had harmed: his employer, colleagues, Herbalife, Skechers and his family.