SEBI bars PwC from auditing listed firms for two years

14 January, 2018, 13:03 | Author: Wade Massey
  • India bans Price Waterhouse from auditing listed firms for two years

With SEBI barring all all the firms in the Price Waterhouse network from auditing listed companies for two years, the verdict is undoubtedly going to send shockwaves in auditing circles.

Price Waterhouse had earlier approached the Supreme Court challenging Sebi's jurisdiction over auditors.

Price Waterhouse will contest a two-year auditing ban by Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) over a fraud almost a decade ago at a company it audited, but even if it succeeds in preventing the move Indian business experts expect damage to the auditor's business. The firm told the news agency that it was "disappointed" with the order.

Price Waterhouse has, expectedly, rejected the charges brought out against it by Sebi while expressing its disappointment on the ban. "Sebi has clarified that the order will not impact audit assignments of FY17-18".

SEBI also restrained Gopalakrishnan and Talluri from directly or indirectly issuing any certificate of audit for listed companies or compliance of obligations for listed companies and intermediaries registered with the market regulator for three years.

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PwC was also banned in Ukraine in 2017 after misrepresenting financial statements of PrivatBank, a retail and commercial bank in the country, according to media reports.

In a 108-page statement, SEBI said that the manner in which various entities bearing the PwC name had been registered in India in a "nebulous way", made it hard not to take notice of the "loss of faith of the investors in the brand name". The Satyam promoters inflated revenue and profits to showcase a healthy picture of the company when PwC was its auditor.

"As we have said since 2009, there has been no intentional wrongdoing by PW firms in the unprecedented management perpetrated fraud at Satyam, nor have we seen any material evidence to the contrary", Price Waterhouse said in a statement.

The order has been passed under the Prevention of Fraudulent and Unfair Trade Practices regulations and Section 11 of Sebi Act, Livemint added.

The audit major also said it has learnt the lessons from Satyam case and invested heavily over the last nine years in building a robust and high quality audit practice. The Rs 7,136 crore fraud remains one of India's biggest scams. While Mr. Gopalakrishnan signed the accounts between April 2000 and March 2007, Mr. Talluri did it between April 2007 and September 2008. As per SEBI, it showed total disregard for stipulated auditing practice, which showed its complicity in the manipulation.

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