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PwC fined R266m for altering probe report

New York - PricewaterhouseCoopers was fined $25 million (R266 million) after sanitising a report to regulators on sanctions and money-laundering controls for Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, New York’s top bank regulator said today.

The bank persuaded PwC Regulatory Advisory Services to change a compliance report related to financial transactions with sanctioned countries including Iran and Sudan between June 2006 and June 2008, according to a settlement with Benjamin Lawsky, superintendent of New York’s Department of Financial Services.

New York State Department of Financial Services Superintendent Benjamin Lawsky. Credit: Reuters

“When bank executives pressure a consultant to whitewash a supposedly ’objective’ report to regulators – and the consultant goes along with it – that can strike at the very heart of our system of prudential oversight,” Lawsky said in a statement announcing the settlement.

PwC was also banned for two years from consulting work with companies regulated by Lawsky and must implement changes to address conflicts of interest in consulting.

It’s his second suspension of a financial-advisory firm.

The Department of Financial Services hit Deloitte’s Financial Advisory Services with a one-year ban in 2013 for work performed on behalf of Standard Chartered Bank Plc.

Laura Schooler, a spokeswoman for PwC, could not be reached immediately for comment.

An external spokesman for the bank, James Barron of Sard Verbinnen, declined to comment.

Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, part of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial, reached a settlement with Lawsky’s department in 2013 and agreed to pay $250 million for violations of US sanctions laws. - Bloomberg News

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