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PwC Australia cuts staff amid tax scheme leak scandal | Corruption

Accountancy firm has pledged to “do whatever it takes” to regain trust after leaking government information to clients.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Australia has directed nine partners to resign pending the results of an internal investigation over a scandal involving the leak of confidential information on the government’s tax scheme.

The chairs of its corporate governance and risk committees will also resign, PwC said on Monday, and it has begun “fencing in” services to government agencies.

PwC also said it would appoint two independent directors to its governance committee and fully publish the findings of a review of company culture announced earlier this month.

Kristin Stubbins, PwC Australia’s acting chief executive, said in a statement: “While our investigation continues, we are announcing these actions today because we recognize our stakeholders’ desire for greater transparency to restore Confidence in our company.”

PricewaterhouseCoopers, one of the world’s “Big Four” accounting firms, has been embroiled in controversy after a partner at the firm used confidential information about the government’s planned tax reform to solicit business from multinational clients and help clients pay less.

PwC chief executive Tom Seymour resigned earlier this month following the revelations, first reported by the Australian Financial Review.

Australian police said last week they had opened a criminal investigation against PwC and its former partner Peter Collins over the “alleged misuse of classified government information”.

In a statement on Monday, Stubbins said PwC was committed to “doing everything we can to right our past mistakes and regain our rewards.” [the public’s] believe”.

But Stubbins rejected calls for the company to release the names of all employees who had access to emails related to the leak, insisting that the confidential information was not being used to make customers pay less in taxes.

“Some people assumed that all those whose names were withheld must have been involved in wrongdoing,” Stubbins said.

“That is incorrect. Based on our ongoing investigations, we believe that the vast majority of recipients of these emails were neither responsible nor knowingly involved in any breach of confidentiality.”

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