Australia took the matter to the police on Wednesday against auditing giant PWC, which is suspected of leaking government plans to tackle tax avoidance by multinational companies.
PWC Australia has been embroiled in the scandal since it was discovered that one of its partners had made “unauthorized disclosures” about these tax reform plans, which he learned about in secret government meetings.
More than 140 pages of internal PwC Australia emails published by a Senate committee this month proved that international tax partner Peter Collins leaked sensitive information to other company officials.
The Treasury said the emails “highlighted the significant extent of unauthorized disclosure of confidential Commonwealth information”, noting the “wide range” of PwC Australia directors who were aware of this.
“In light of these recent revelations and the seriousness of the misconduct, the Treasury has referred the matter to the Australian Federal Police to consider initiating a criminal investigation,” he said in a statement.
The Australian government maintains that the confidentiality of these meetings is necessary to allow it to consult relevant economic sectors on draft legislation.
Mr Collins was withdrawn from his tax officer status last November and banned from discussing confidential matters for two years.
Former PwC Australia CEO Tom Seymour resigned on 9 May over the scandal.
PricewaterhouseCoopers’ global network said the case was a clear breach of its ethics.
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