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Statement from Christian Labrot, IRU President


Independent audit finds no evidence for allegations against IRU management

25 November, 2016

An independent audit has dismissed allegations made against current IRU management by a former employee last April.

The allegations related to IRU’s TIR insurance scheme, dating back to 1995, and the financial model used to calculate IRU’s reserves.

The comprehensive audit, conducted over five months by leading international firm Ernst & Young, was commissioned by IRU’s Board (Presidential Executive) after IRU's General Assembly in April 2016.

The audit investigated the specific allegations, tracked money flows related to the IRU insurance scheme, and reviewed IRU’s organisational structure, governance mechanisms and compliance with ethical standards and best practice.

In summary, the audit found:

  • All funds are accounted for; no money was stolen or hidden
  • IRU constitutional and governance rules were respected
  • Current management had no involvement in the creation of the insurance scheme; rather, the former employee who made the allegations was responsible for the department supervising the TIR insurance scheme
  • Significant progress in transparency, internal controls and risk management since new management took over in 2013
  • Governance and ethical practices in line with general standards; no major issues identified.

The audit was overseen directly by IRU’s Board and IRU’s internal auditor, independent of management. The auditors evaluated more than 2,800 documents dating back to 1995, including documents provided by the former employee who made the allegations. The auditors interviewed all relevant parties, including the former employee.

No major governance or ethical issues

In terms of governance mechanisms and processes, and compliance with general ethical standards and practice, the audit found no major issues in IRU.

The audit further noted that a code of ethics and business conduct was implemented in 2014 by current IRU management, Secretary General Umberto de Pretto and Chief Operations Officer Boris Blanche, shortly after taking over their current roles in 2013.

Significant improvement in transparency since 2013

The audit found that since June 2013, IRU management had made significant steps to improve and increase transparency, and enhance internal control systems and risk management.

The Board notes clearly that Umberto de Pretto and Boris Blanche assumed their current roles in 2013, and that it has been their effort to reform and modernise IRU, from that time on.

This significant progress is recognised by the audit, and IRU management is committed to continue on this path with the support of IRU members and the Board.

The audit identified further improvements and the Board will drive action on these suggestions with all IRU members in the coming months.

Overwhelming support of members

Ernst & Young first presented their overall findings to IRU members at the IRU General Assembly on 4 November 2016, with members overwhelmingly backing its findings and supporting IRU management.

The Board has clearly noted the strong desire of almost all IRU members to accept the audit’s findings, allowing the organisation to move on and continue its important role in supporting sustainable global transport, trade and tourism.

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John Kidd
IRU Head, Communications & Events
Tel +41 22 918 2707
Mobile +41 79 386 9544

Karen Mazzoli
IRU Media Relations Manager
Tel +41 22 918 2796
Mobile +41 79 633 8953

Previous statements on this issue here