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Freedom Waits One Year to Correct Overstated EPS

Brokerage provides little detail in how it mistook a loss as a gain which resulted in overstating EPS by nearly one-third.

February 9, 2024

One year after saying it earned nearly three dollars per share in the nine months ended December 31, 2022 Freedom Holdings Corp. (FRHC), a financial services firm based in Kazakhstan, has slashed its reported profit.

Blaming what it calls a “mathematical error”, Freedom says it discovered an error in its earnings from discontinued operations the previous year while preparing its latest quarterly report for the three months ended December 31, 2023.

The “earnings” from discontinued operations were actually losses.

In the quarterly period impacted, Freedom originally told investors it earned $0.59 per share from discontinued operations when it actually lost $0.31 per share.

In restating EPS, Freedom revealed it had:

—Overstated diluted EPS by $0.31, or 29.5% in the three months ended December 31, 2022
—Overstated diluted EPS by $0.31, or 12.4% in the nine months ended December 31, 2022

Freedom says the restatement did not have any impact on retained earnings or other components of equity or net assets on the balance sheet, “as of the beginning of the earliest period presented.”

Separately, Freedom inserted new language in its latest quarterly filing indicating it’s expanding beyond financial services in its Central Asia and Eastern Europe segment:

“...The Group also has several businesses in Kazakhstan which complement its core financial services businesses, including recently established telecommunications and media businesses that are in a developmental stage.”

Freedom also inserted new language boasting that its non-US subsidiaries have provided brokerage or banking to Russians and others who are subject to sanctions imposed by OFAC, the European Union or the United Kingdom:

“A significant amount of the increase of such customer liabilities from March 31, 2023 to December 31, 2023 was attributable to an omnibus customer whose parent, a brokerage firm that provides access for investors to the international stock markets, was sanctioned by OFAC on November 2, 2023. The brokerage accounts of such omnibus customer currently hold a significant volume of securities but have not historically accounted for a material part of our revenue. We are currently taking appropriate action to identify and block and/or freeze the accounts which are affected by the sanctions affecting this omnibus customer where required and are evaluating and assessing the potential consequences of such sanctions for our business with this entity, including the implications of any applicable wind-down general license and other specific licenses or guidance in the form of FAQs or otherwise that may be issued by OFAC in the future.”

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