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British watchdog examining EY audit of Veolia's UK unit

Logo of of Ernst & Young is seen in Zurich

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's accounting watchdog said on Friday it had opened an investigation into Ernst & Young LLP's audit of the 2019 financial statements of Stirling Water Seafield Finance, a UK unit of French group Veolia.

The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) said in a statement it was examining the audit by the "Big Four" accountant into the financial statements of Stirling Water Seafield Finance for the year ended Dec. 31, 2019, without giving further details.

French parent Veolia is not part of the investigation, a spokesperson for the company said in reference to the FRC statement.

In April 2021, EY sent a letter to the company notifying that it would end its role as auditor as it had inadvertently breached the maximum 10-year engagement period when it was reappointed as external auditor to the company for 2019.

"We can confirm that EY has been notified of the FRC’s intention to conduct an investigation into the audit of Stirling Water Seafield Finance plc for the year ended 31 December 2019. We will be fully cooperating with the FRC during their enquiries," EY said in an emailed statement.

According to Stirling Water Seafield Finance's financial statement, the company's principal activity is to raise funds to enable other group companies to upgrade and operate waste water treatment facilities in relation to Almond Valley, Seafield and Esk areas in the UK.

The 2019 auditor´s report of Stirling Water Finance was signed by Christopher Voogd, senior statutory auditor, for and on behalf of Ernst & Young LLP, according to the document published in the Companies House.

(Reporting by Andres Gonzalez, Editing by Mark Potter and Susan Fenton)