As new claims surface regarding more breaches of confidentially, senior executives at the troubled consulting giant PwC are likely to be summoned to testify before an investigation for tax scandal being conducted by the Senate later this month.
However, Labor senator Deborah O’Neill believes that the visit should be viewed as little more than “another PR exercise.” Meanwhile, the worldwide CEO of the company, Bob Moritz, will be in Australia this week to meet with clients and partners.
O’Neill is quoted as saying, “There’s nothing wrong with doing that, but let’s not pretend it’s anything more than that,”
O’Neill also stated that the “full shape” of the alleged wrongdoings committed by PwC will not be known until separate investigations conducted by the Australian federal police and the Tax Practitioner’s Board have been completed, in addition to two enquiries conducted by the Senate finishing their reports.
Following the revelation by PwC Australia that in 2016, a partner forwarded documents related to confidential consultations with the Treasury and tax officials regarding the GST treatment of digital currencies to colleagues who had not signed confidentiality agreements, the federal Treasury has stated that it is assessing what action to take in response to the situation. PwC Australia’s revelation came after the federal Treasury stated that it is assessing what action to take in response to the situation.
In addition to the earlier tax scandal, in which secret knowledge on multinational tax policy was shared with colleagues by a senior partner, and then utilized by the company to gain millions of dollars off of customers, this new breach involves a breach of confidentiality over the same information.
Ziggy Switkowski delivered a critical report into the company’s internal culture the previous week. In his investigation, he discovered that employees held the belief that “revenue is king,” and that partners who exceeded their profit objectives were regarded as “heroes” and were not always held accountable for their business activities.
The interim report of a Senate investigation into the behavior and ethics of PwC and its large four consulting counterparts described PwC’s “calculated” violation of trust by utilizing confidential information to help its customers avoid tax and engaging in a “deliberate cover-up” over a number of years. The Senate investigation was looking into PwC and its big four consulting peers.
To this point, the investigation has received testimony from executives from KPMG, EY, and Deloitte. It is anticipated that workers of PwC would testify in proceedings that will take place in the middle of October.
Later on this week, a separate investigation by the Australian Senate into charges of unethical behavior at major accounting, audit, and consultancy firms in the country will conduct its first hearings.
O’Neill stated that until those committees came back and the results of other investigations were determined, PwC could not yet turn a new leaf in its business practices.
“I don’t think there are enough new leaves to actually cover the gross exposure of PwC,” she said. “I’m sorry to say that.”
A lawmaker for the Green Party named Barbara Pocock concurred that it was far too soon for the consulting behemoth to consider the tax leak controversy to be in the past.
“Given that we are learning of more breaches, it’s not reassuring – even when the most senior people in PwC fly into town,” Pocock added. “[T]here is still a lot of work to be done.”
“It is by no means over… ” I am sure that everyone on our committee is eagerly anticipating our first meeting with PwC, which I am hoping will not be postponed for too long.
Regarding Moritz’s trip to Australia, media has inquired with PwC for a response.