India bans Price Waterhouse from auditing listed firms for two years

PwC banned from auditing listed companies in India

These companies would soon be required to look for new auditors in the wake of the SEBI order even though the regulator has made it clear that the ruling would not impact audit assignments relating to the financial year 2017-18 undertaken by the PW network firms.

However, it added it has learnt the lessons of Satyam and invested "heavily" over the last nine years in "building a robust and high quality audit practice". "The order also does not apply to any of our other businesses - be it advisory, tax, risk assurance or audit of unlisted entities.PW audit firms will be appealing this decision and believe that there are strong grounds to get a positive outcome", Mukherjee wrote.

Meanwhile, PW, on Thursday, said there has been no intentional wrongdoing by its firms in the Satyam case and also expressed confidence of getting a stay on the SEBI order. The network structure of operations adopted by the worldwide accounting firm should not be used as a shield to avoid legal implications arising out of the certifications issued under the brand name of the network, the order said. "The network structure of operations adopted by the global accounting firm should not be used as a shield to avoid legal implications arising out of the certifications issued under the brand name of the network", the order said. In the light of that stand, it is expected to challenge the Sebi order.

The order states that PW and audit firms in its network can not issue audit certificates directly or indirectly, but it will not impact the audits taken up for the 2017-18 financial year.

SEBI has also asked PW to pay a fine of Rs 13.09 crore, combined with interest at 12 percent per annum from January 2009, amounting to around Rs 14 crore.

PwC banned from auditing listed companies in India
Price Waterhouse gets 2-year ban in Satyam case

In India, all audit functions within the group are conducted under the PwC brand, with a network of local firms operating under the banner.

The Satyam scam was unearthed in 2009, after the then Chairman of Satyam B Ramalinga Raju admitted in a letter to overstating the company's assets by Rs5,040cr.

"A common investor's reliance on the audit certifications of Satyam Computer at the relevant point of time was dependent on the fact that it was attested by one of the internationally reputed firms called PW". In 2012, Satyam was sold to rival Tech Mahindra which dropped the brand.

The show-cause notices were issued to a total of 13 entities and it was alleged that certifying the financial statements of Satyam Computer Services for the period from 2000 to 2008, they acted in violation of the duties as auditors.

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