By Lewis Jackson SYDNEY (Reuters) -PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Australia has named at least 67 current and former staff involved in the leak of confidential government tax plans in an unpublished letter to lawmakers, according to a spokesperson for the firm on Monday. PwC Australia provided a list naming four former partners involved in the leak, as […]
PwC Australia names staff involved in gov’t tax plan leak
By Lewis Jackson
SYDNEY (Reuters) -PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Australia has named at least 67 current and former staff involved in the leak of confidential government tax plans in an unpublished letter to lawmakers, according to a spokesperson for the firm on Monday.
PwC Australia provided a list naming four former partners involved in the leak, as well as a list of 63 current and former staff who received at least one email containing confidential information relating to Australia’s 2016 Multinational Anti-Avoidance Law.
The lists came in response to questions from a senate committee, the PwC spokesperson confirmed to Reuters, after their submission to the panel was earlier reported on Monday by the Australian Financial Review.
PwC, one of the world’s “big four” audit and advisory firms, is battling to contain the fallout from a scandal in Australia, after a former partner, who had been consulting with the federal government on new tax laws targeting corporate tax avoidance, shared confidential drafts with colleagues to drum up business around the world.
A cache of 144 pages of partially redacted emails released in May revealed that dozens of staff were working to help multinational companies sidestep a new Australian tax law in concert with PwC firms in the United States, Britain, Singapore and Netherlands.
Acting PwC chief executive Kristin Stubbins publicly apologised last week for the scandal and directed nine partners to go on leave pending the outcome of the investigation into the confidentiality breaches. Some, but not all, of the nine partners directed to go on leave last week were also named in the submission to the senate committee.
Australia’s largest pension fund last week froze future work with PwC, widening the fallout and raising the risk that private-sector clients could follow a growing list of government agencies reviewing or pausing their work with the firm.
The senate panel, which is due to meet on Wednesday, also requested the names of companies who received confidential Australian tax information. A PwC spokesperson said the firm had nothing further to add when asked whether these companies were named in the submission.
Paul McNab, one of the four former partners, told Reuters in an email that he had no opportunity to respond before PwC released his name.
“It is noteworthy that the firm has taken this action to name former partners only,” he said in the email.
“I trusted that the information shared with me as a partner of the firm would comply with any confidentiality agreements that may have been in place with Treasury.”
A spokesperson later told Reuters that McNab late on Monday ended his employment with law firm DLA Piper by mutual agreement. He had joined the firm after leaving PwC in 2020.
(Editing by Bernadette Baum)