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PwC names 8 partners forced to quit over tax scandal

Regulation

The firm’s investigation found former CEO Tom Seymour and seven others failed to meet their professional responsibilities.

By Philip King 10 minute read

PwC Australia has named eight partners who have been forced to quit over the Treasury tax scandal following the firm’s investigation into the leaking of the sensitive information.

It said its investigation into failures of professional, ethical and leadership responsibilities meant “eight partners have exited or are in the process of being removed from the partnership” as part of its effort to reshape the firm’s culture and re-earn trust.

The partners included Peter Konidaris and Eddy Moussa, whose “actions failed to meet their professional responsibilities” along with a similar finding against Richard Gregg, who the firm was now acting to remove from the partnership.

“Additionally, Pete Calleja and Sean Gregory have exited the PwC partnership as a result of their failure to adequately exercise their expected leadership or governance responsibilities to prevent these actions or to address the deficiencies in culture at the firm or hold others accountable for their behaviours,” PwC said.

“For similar reasons, Peter van Dongen, Wayne Plummer and Tom Seymour have been given notice of PwC Australia’s findings against them and the same process started under the Partnership Agreement to remove them from the partnership. Tom Seymour’s recommended exit is earlier than his previously announced retirement date.”

Acting CEO Kristin Stubbins said accountability was critical to improving the firm’s culture.

“It is clear that the conduct of a number of partners fell short of what was expected of them,” she said. “They are now being held accountable for their misconduct.

“While we cannot change the past, we can control our actions today and in the future. Moving forward, the PwC Australia management team will continue to take all appropriate steps to improve the firm’s culture and standards.”

The investigation by PwC followed damaging revelations that a partner had shared confidential Treasury tax information within the firm to help attract and benefit large multinational clients.

The scandal emerged following the banning of a single PwC partner at the centre of the scandal, Peter Collins, by the TPB in February

The political storm that has erupted since has put PwC’s corporate culture under scrutiny and forced it to sell off its government consultancy arm as Canberra and the states shunned the firm.

PwC’s global operation has also moved to take control of its Australian arm by installing its own CEO.

The eight named partners falls short of the 63 who were disclosed to a Senate inquiry as receiving the confidential tax information but not necessarily implicated in the wrongdoing.

PwC said the announcement was just “the latest in a series of actions that PwC Australia has taken over the past several weeks to take accountability, reshape the firm’s culture, and most importantly, re-earn trust with its stakeholders”.

It said the investigation identified specific examples where professional standards were breached with respect to misuse of confidential information or other matters reviewed by the ATO, along with “a failure of leadership and governance to adequately address the matters, either at the time or whilst the matters were under investigation by the TPB or ATO”.

“This enabled poor behaviours to persist with no accountability. These behaviours are not, and never have been, acceptable under PwC’s standards.”

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Philip King

Philip King

AUTHOR

Philip King is editor of Accountants Daily and SMSF Adviser, the leading sources of news, insight, and educational content for professionals in the accounting and SMSF sectors.

Philip joined the titles in March 2022 and brings extensive experience from a variety of roles at The Australian national broadsheet daily, most recently as motoring editor. His background also takes in spells on diverse consumer and trade magazines.

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