There are a number of tools in the tool box to deal with these potential liabilities, such as Reasonable Steps Letters or Comfort Letters
, the Utah Voluntary Cleanup Program (VCP), a Utah Enforceable Written Assurance (EWA), Brownfields Programs, certain deal structures and even some creative approaches such as a surface easement coupled with the lease of air rights.
Neither does the controversial issue of OTR comfort letters
have any bearing on the matter.
The findings, by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, are based on a trove of leaked documents that included 548 so-called comfort letters
that the group said Luxembourg had provided to corporations seeking favorable tax treatment.
In addition, many CPA firms have begun offering comfort letters
for the benefit of production companies and potential buyers of transferable credits.
In prior liaison meetings, TEI has voiced concern about the increasing time lag between the issuance of comfort letters
and the adoption of remedial technical legislation.
While the audit of the historical financial statements remains the most visible service in this process provided by an accounting firm, CPAs also play an active role in the review of filing and disclosure documents, issuance of comfort letters
to underwriters, future compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley Sec.
These requirements heighten the scrutiny applied during Rule 144A due diligence and reflect a more formalized process than that associated with typical private placements, in which comfort letters
and disclosure letters are generally not rendered.
Since the entry of the present block exemption (Regulation 870/95/EC), the Commission has approved ten consortia under the opposition procedure, and in several other cases DG IV has sent comfort letters
confirming that a notified agreement conforms with the block exemption.
To a lesser extent, guarantee variants such as keepwell, support and comfort letters
are accepted based on the financial strength of the providing party and internal policies of the accepting party.
The American Institute of CPAs auditing standards board has published two statements on auditing standards relating to agreed-upon procedures engagements and one statement on standards for attestation engagements concerning requests for comfort letters
The facts in case law reflect that comfort letters
are written after vigorous negotiations wherein the letter writer was requested but refused to guarantee or otherwise secure the payment or performance of another party.
It is expected that the special committee established by the Board of Directors will complete its investigation of these 'wash trades' in September, after which, new auditors Ernst and Young, will be able to provide comfort letters
on behalf of Consumers and PEPL, as well as a consolidated CMS opinion.