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KPMG moving to Belfast's £17m Soloist building

By Rachel Martin

Financial services company KPMG will move its Northern Ireland arm and 200 staff to a new Belfast headquarters next year.

The firm will relocate in the summer, shifting to the Soloist building on Lanyon Place from its current location on College Square.

It follows just months after the firm announced that it was creating 500 jobs in the Republic and Northern Ireland.

The Soloist was sold in February to London firm CL 10 Ltd. It is understood it paid £14.5m for the city centre office, which houses the law firm Pinsent Masons.

The building was developed by property company William Ewart and designed by Norwegian firm Niels Torp.

Work on it started in 2008, during the property crash. The loans connected with the £17m building were moved into Nama, and the agency provided funding, allowing it to be completed in 2014.

John Hansen, partner in charge of KPMG in Northern Ireland, said: "We are delighted to have secured 35,000 sq ft in this premium location. KPMG in Northern Ireland has experienced strong growth in 2016 and we are looking forward to further success in 2017 and beyond.

"We have ambitious plans to grow our business in Northern Ireland and to continue to provide a top-quality service to our existing and new client base. This office move clearly states our intentions for growth".

KPMG's Northern Ireland operation was in the headlines earlier this year after four partners were investigated by HMRC.

Eamonn Donaghy, Jon D'Arcy, Paul Hollway and Arthur O'Brien were investigated over a separate property company.

However, no charges have been brought against them, and the four deny any wrongdoing. They are challenging HMRC's conduct through a judicial review.

The firm operates in 152 countries, has a global workforce of 189,000 and launched here in 1974.

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