It has been a gruelling year for Noble Group, the Hong Kong-based commodity trading firm. Over a period of five weeks in February and March, a mysterious entity called Iceberg Research published three detailed reports attacking Noble's accounting practices. Among other things, the reports alleged that Noble had inflated the valuation of its 13% stake in Yancoal, an Australian coal miner, and had used aggressive mark-to-market accounting to pump up the value of long-term commodity transactions.
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