Pricewaterhouse Coopers Comes Under Scrutiny by Moscow Court

Lucas Gilmore, “Big 4″ observer
August 30, 2010 /

Pricewaterhouse Coopers is set to be scrutinized by a Moscow court today for its involvement in a Yukos audit.

Pricewaterhouse Coopers is the global audit giant and is presently at the top of the Big 4 pile of audit firms. The case to be heard is about the involvement of Pricewaterhouse Coopers in a Yukos audit. The former owners of the Yukos oil group is planning to make a final push in order to clear themselves of embezzlement chargers made against them.

Platon Lebedev and Mikhail Khodorkovsky, both former owners of the Yukos oil group have been jailed because of embezzlement convictions. Both of them are expected to testify in a Moscow court.

The former owners are expected to testify that between 1996 and 2006, the firm withdrew audits following pressure from the Kremlin. This is going to give state prosecutors the opportunity of building a case that they had embezzled approximately 350 million tonnes of oil from Yukos between the years 1998 and 2003.

In June of 2007, Pricewaterhouse Coopers withdrew audits following the revelation of court cases against the firm which was threatening to cancel the firm’s operating license. The Financial Times reported that this happened after a police raid and criminal investigations against the firm.

The firm however maintained throughout that it faced no pressure when there was withdrawal of audit and that it was not “party to the proceedings”. It has also maintained that in spite of the court cases, the Russian government had renewed its license to operate in April of 2007.

In the cases against Khodorkovsky, the Kremiln has kept up pressure. He had been previously convicted for embezzlement and tax evasion.

Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister of Russia, also said that Khodorkovsky had links to the killings ordered by Yukos’ head of security.

 

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