The Australian government has sent a threat over PwC’s tax leaks to the country’s police, asking the military to consider opening a criminal investigation.
It is the growing scandal that has led to the resignation of the head of PwC’s Australian business and efforts by the international Big Four bosses to contain the scandal. world history problem.
PwC received information about changes to the Australian tax code because Peter Collins, its former head of tax in the country, was on a panel of advisers to the government’s Treasury Department.
Emails released this month showed how PwC solicited business from international clients, including US technology groups, using government secrets Collins had obtained about tax avoidance.
A few, including the head of PwC Australia, have he stood down in this case, but politicians have been frustrated that information about the partners who received the information and the customers who benefited has not been released yet.
In a statement on Wednesday, the Australian Treasury said Collins had “misappropriated Commonwealth secrets”.
It said the emails published this month “revealed the scale of the unauthorized disclosure of Commonwealth secrets and the number of people within PwC who had direct and indirect knowledge of those secrets”.
“Given recent revelations and the seriousness of this misconduct, the Treasury Department has referred the matter to the Australian Police to consider initiating a criminal investigation,” it added.
The names of PwC employees and business partners affected by the emails were redacted before they were released by the senate committee, but the recipients included people in business in the US, UK and Ireland. The recipients included senior partners from PwC’s international network, some of whom were responsible for major clients, said a person familiar with the matter.
Collins has already been forbidden to do tax assistant in Australia for two years.
He signed non-disclosure agreements with the Treasury so he could take part in discussions to reform Australia’s tax avoidance and multinational corporations.
In the wake of the scandal, the government has changed the powers of industry regulators to deal with potential disputes and enacted laws requiring suppliers such as PwC to disclose violations or conflicts with government interests in the future.
Andy Schmulow, an associate professor at the University of Wollongong’s law school, said some politicians and tax officials were “forever sickened” by the conduct of PwC’s Australian arm. “the fifth stage” because he not only received the secrets, but also affected the shape of the new tax laws before his company started working with the companies that the laws were supposed to violate.
PwC Australia said: “We are taking note of the Treasury secretary’s comments and will continue to cooperate with any investigation into this matter.”
Collins has not responded to requests for comment since the story broke.
The Australian business and its international operations have drawn international attention.