2 July 2023

PwC tax allegations referred to National Anti-Corruption Commission

| Albert McKnight
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PwC building in Barton

Police have already begun an investigation into PwC’s activities. Photo: David Murtagh.

A senator has referred claims in the alleged PwC tax scandal to the newly opened National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) for investigation.

Last month, a cross-parliamentary committee accused PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) of a “calculated breach of trust” in leaking tax information to the financial benefit of the company and its multinational clients.

On Sunday (2 July), Greens Senator Barbara Pocock announced she had referred the allegations to the NACC, which she described as “a federal body with the powers to investigate serious corruption”.

The matter has already been referred to the Australian Federal Police, who have begun an investigation.

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Senator Pocock said there were still “so many unanswered questions” about PwC’s alleged actions.

“The PwC tax leaks scandal has been airing in public for the past five months and so far we know too little about who was at fault, who benefitted and what consequences there will be,” she claimed.

“While we welcome the AFP investigation to prosecute appropriate criminal charges, there are wider issues that need to be addressed to ensure that our systems of government are not open to corruption.

“These issues can only be properly examined by an independent body with the authority to compel witnesses.”

Barbara Pocock speaking in the Senate

Senator Barbara Pocock referred the PwC to the NACC. Photo: Screenshot.

She said a wide-ranging inquiry was needed to examine the possible involvement of unknown people in “corrupt behaviour”.

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While a PwC partner advising the government on tax matters in 2016, Peter-John Collins allegedly revealed confidential Treasury information to executives throughout the accountancy firm and to its international clients, devising a scheme to help them avoid paying the taxes he was helping to establish.

Mr Collins has since left the company and the ongoing fallout has seen other senior PwC officials, including its chief executive officer Tom Seymour, fall on their swords.

The NACC, which only began operation on 1 July 2023, is an independent federal agency that investigates serious or systemic corrupt conduct in the public sector.

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