From TSV Hari
Southern Features & News Service Exclusive
Can this aid the sins of shady international audit firms like PricewaterhouseCoopers [PwC]  in India and the world at large? PwC also counts the votes that decide the Oscar Awards.
Some answers will be known when the award recipients are announced sometime in February 2017. Rahman is in the Oscar race again this year.
A close look at AR Rahman winning 2 Oscars for his work in the movie Slumdog Millionaire reveals a pattern that strongly suggests that the Oscars are ‘fixed’.
In February 2016, British right-wing newspaper The Telegraph pointed out as to how to fix the award.
And that is a crying shame.
There is a lot more than what meets the eye. It concerns the faith Islam and a shady company Satyam Computers. 
If Forbes is to be believed, PwC is a company that can boast of being one of the most shameful ones on an international scale!
The 2 largest global auditing firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), faces significant challenges to its ideal of a that has
Pending litigation and new claims of negligence in the audits of failed Icelandic banks Glitnir and Landsbanki, (the internet deposit account scandal), as well as ongoing investigations and litigation regarding the fraud at audit client Satyam in India, shine a spotlight on how the firm manages collateral damage from “local” issues.
PwC is a network of firms in 157 countries, 756 locations, with more than 223,000 people. As of 2015, 22% of the workforce worked in Asia, 26% in North America and Caribbean and 32% in Western Europe. The company’s global revenues were $35.9 billion in FY 2016, of which $15.2 billion was generated by its Assurance practice, $9.1 billion by its Tax practice and $11.5 billion by its Advisory practice.
Gender employment discrimination
In 1989, the United States Supreme Court held that Price Waterhouse must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the decision regarding employment would have been the same if sex discrimination had not occurred. The accounting firm failed to prove that the same decision to postpone Ann Hopkins's promotion to partnership would have still been made in the absence of sex discrimination, and therefore, the employment decision constituted sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The significance of the Supreme Court’s ruling was twofold. First, it established that gender stereotyping is actionable as sex discrimination. Second, it established the mixed-motive framework as an evidentiary framework for proving discrimination under a disparate treatment theory even when lawful reasons for the adverse employment action are also present. Ann Hopkins’s candidacy for partnership was put on indefinite hold. She eventually resigned and sued the company for occupational sexism, arguing that her lack of promotion came after pressure to walk, talk, dress, and act more “femininely.”
Following the suit, the firm has received media attention due to its discriminatory labour practices towards males as well. Although incidents of such labour marginalization take place rarely, there were several cases of unfair work treatment.
548 tax arrangements relating to 343 multinational corporations and Luxembourg which were negotiated by PwC became public in 2014 in the so-called Luxembourg Leaks
PwC received $55m from Caterpillar Inc. to develop a tax avoidance scheme, according to an investigation of the senate. $8bn in profits were shifted from the US to Switzerland which allegedly made it possible to save more than $2.4bn in US taxes over a decade. In Switzerland profits were taxed at 4%. A PricewaterhouseCoopers partner who was involved in designing the tax savings plan commented: “We’ll all be retired when this . . . comes up on audit.”
In 1990, the US Internal Revenue Service seized most of the assets of Willie Nelson, claiming he owed $32 million in back taxes, including penalties and interest. He sued Price Waterhouse, contending that they put him into tax shelters that were later disallowed by the IRS. The lawsuit was settled for an undisclosed amount.
American International Group Inc
BusinessWeek said that PwC was American International Group Inc.’s auditor through years of “questionable dealings.” AIG on 30 March 2005 said that deals with a Barbados-based insurance company, for instance, may have been incorrectly accounted for over the past 14 years, because an AIG-affiliated company may have been secretly covering that insurer’s losses.
BusinessWeek said that PwC appears to have “dropped the ball” on the deals between AIG and Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s General Re Corp. General Re transferred $500 million in anticipated claims and premiums to AIG. BusinessWeek asked: “Did the auditor do its job by verifying that AIG was assuming risk on claims beyond the $500 million, thus allowing AIG to account for the deal as insurance? That’s Accounting 101 in any reinsurance transaction.”
PwC was also criticised by several witnesses during the investigation into AIG’s collapse, after the insurer was unable to fulfil its collateral obligations to Goldman Sachs. The insurer was expected to cover the difference in value between the credit default swap contracts it had sold to Goldman Sachs, however the head of the unit at AIG disagreed with the valuation that Goldman presented. According to a memo published by Business Insider, witnesses wondered how PwC was signing off on the accounts for both AIG and Goldman Sachs, when they were using different valuation methods for the swaps contracts (and therefore booked different values for them in their accounts).
From April 2000 to 2006, PwC’s affiliate of assurance service in Japan was ChuoAoyama Audit Corporation.
In May 2006, the Financial Services Agency of Japan suspended ChuoAoyama from provision of some statutory auditing services for two months following the collapse of cosmetics company Kanebo, of which three of the partners were found assisting with accounting fraud for boosting earnings by the company of about $1.9 billion over the course of five years. The accountants got suspended prison terms up to eighteen months from the Tokyo District Court after the judge deemed them to have played a “passive role” in the crime. The suspension was the first ever imposed on a major accounting firm in the country. Many of the firm’s largest clients were forced to find replacement auditors before the suspension began that July.
Shortly after the suspension of ChuoAoyama, PwC acted quickly to stem any possible client attrition as a result of the scandal. It set up the PricewaterhouseCoopers Aarata, and some of ChuoAoyama’s accountants (but most of the international divisions) moved to the new firm. ChuoAoyama resumed operations on 1 September under the Misuzu name. However, by this point the two firms combined had 30% fewer clients than did ChuoAoyama prior to its suspension. Misuzu was dissolved in July 2007.
In July 2007, PwC agreed to pay US$229 million to settle a class-action lawsuit brought by shareholders of Tyco International Ltd. over a multibillion-dollar accounting fraud. The chief executive and chief financial officer of Tyco were found guilty of looting $600 million from the company
In January 2009 PwC was criticised along with the promoters of Satyam, an Indian IT firm listed on the NASDAQ, in a $1.5 billion fraud. PwC wrote a letter to the board of directors of Satyam that its audit may be rendered “inaccurate and unreliable” due to the disclosures made by Satyam’s (ex) Chairman and subsequently withdrew its audit opinions. PwC’s US arm “was the reviewer for the U.S. filings for Satyam. Consequently, lawsuits have been filed in the US with PwC as a defendant. Two partners of PricewaterhouseCoopers, Srinivas Talluri and Subramani Gopalakrishnan, have been charged by India’s Central Bureau of Investigation in connection with the Satyam scandal. Since the scandal broke out, Subramani Gopalakrishnan has retired from the firm after reaching mandatory retirement age, while Talluri remains on suspension from the firm.
In November 2010, The New York Times reported that PwC had been assisting the Russian Government with prosecutions in relation to alleged tax evasion at Yukos stating “Then, in 2007, with the prospect of parole on the horizon, the same prosecutors—with what appears to be the complicity of PricewaterhouseCoopers, Yukos’s long-time accounting firm—indicted the two men (Mikhail B. Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev), again, bringing a new round of Kafkaesque charges.”
A cable from the US embassy in Moscow stated that the trial was politically motivated and that a deposition in a US court by PricewaterhouseCoopers may show that PwC was pressured by the Russian government to withdraw its prior Yukos audits. An embassy source noted that if the audits were not properly withdrawn it “would greatly tarnish PWC’s international reputation.” Russian authorities were investigating PwC for tax evasion, but suspended the investigation once PwC withdrew the Yukos audits.
Global Trust Bank Ltd and DSQ Software
India’s accounting standards agency ICAI is investigating partners of PwC for professional negligence in the now-defunct Global Trust Bank Ltd. case of 2007. Like Satyam, Global Trust Bank was also based in Hyderabad. This led to the RBI banning PwC from auditing any financial company for over a year. PwC was also associated with the accounting scandal at DSQ Software in India. Following the Satyam scandal, the Mumbai-based Small Investor Grievances Association (SIGA) has requested the Indian stock market regulator SEBI to ban PwC permanently and seize its assets in India alleging few more scandals like “Ketan Parekh stock manipulations.”
Transneft Russia case
The construction of the ESPO (East Siberia-Pacific Ocean) pipeline by Transneft was estimated to cost in excess of US$13 billion. A leaked report of the Audit Chamber of the Russian Federation indicated that the total amount stolen and siphoned from the company during construction through various mechanisms and schemes reaches up to US$4 billion. A Moscow Times editorial stated that one of the chamber’s auditors attempted “damage control” by saying in effect, “Yes, money was stolen, but not as much the media reported.”
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) was Transneft’s auditor and denied wrongdoing saying “We believe there are absolutely no grounds for such allegations, and we stand behind our work.”
In 2007, PwC was criticised by the Treasury Select Committee of the Parliament of the United Kingdom for helping Northern Rock, a client of the firm, to sell its mortgage assets while also acting as its auditor. In 2011, a House of Lords inquiry criticized PwC for not drawing attention to the risks in the business model followed by Northern Rock, which was rescued by the UK government during the financial crisis.
JP Morgan Securities audit
In 2012, the Accountancy and Actuarial Discipline Board (AADB) of the UK fined PwC a record £1.4m for wrongly reporting to the Financial Services Authority that JP Morgan Securities had complied with client money rules which protects client funds. The accountants neglected to check whether JP Morgan had the correct systems in place, and failed to gather sufficient evidence to form opinions on the issue, and as a result, failed to report that JP Morgan failed to hold client money separate from JP Morgan’s money. It is the greatest penalty administered to a professional accountancy firm in the UK.
World Bank favouring for water privatization in Delhi
PwC was found to be unethically favoured by the World Bank in a bid to privatize the water distribution system of Delhi, India, an effort that was alleged as corrupt by investigators.
When bidding took place, PwC repeatedly failed in each round, and the World Bank in each case pressured PwC to be pushed to the next round and eventually win the bid. The effort at privatization fell through when an investigation was conducted by Arvind Kejriwal and the non-governmental organization (NGO) Parivartan in 2005.
After submitting a Right to Information (RTI) request, Parivartan received 9000 pages of correspondence and consultation with the World Bank, where it was revealed that the privatization of Delhi’s water supply would provide salaries of $25,000 a month to four administrators of each of the 21 water zones, which amounted to over $25 million per year, increasing the budget by over 60% and water taxes 9 times.
The Delhi Jal Board (DJB), which administers the water system of Delhi, was first approached by Parivartan in November 2004, following a report by the newspaper The Asian Age, where the scheme was revealed to the public for the first time.
The DJB denied the existence of the project, but after an appeal, the RTI request was granted. The documents revealed that the project began in 1998, in complete secrecy within the DJB administration. The DJB approached the World Bank for a loan to improve the water system, which it approved, and the effort began with a $2.5 million consultation loan. The Delhi government could have easily provided the money, and the interest rate of 12% that was to be loaned by the World Bank could have been raised on capital markets for 6%.
Following the consultation, 35 multi-national companies bid, of which six were to be short listed. When PwC was in 10th place, the World Bank said that at least one company should be from a developing country, and since PwC made the bid from its Kolkata office, it was dubbed an “Indian” company, and its rank was dropped to 6th.
When PwC failed in the second round, the World Bank pressured the DJB to start over with a fresh round of bidding. Only one company succeeded in the new round that was not PwC, and the World Bank had the lowest marks from an evaluator thrown out. The contract was awarded to PwC in 2001.
Following the investigation by Parivartan, a campaign was waged by Kejriwal, Aruna Roy, and other activists across Delhi, and the DJB withdrew the loan application to the World Bank.
In 2013 Cattles plc brought a legal action against PwC in the UK in respect of the 2006 and 2007 audits claiming that they had failed to carry out adequate investigations. Cattles, a UK consumer finance company, later discovered control weaknesses which caused its loan book to be materially overstated in its balance sheet; having been listed as a FTSE250 company, it subsequently lost its listing. PwC disputed this legal claim. The claim was settled out of court on undisclosed terms.
The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) issued a fine of £2.3m on PwC and ordered the firm to pay £750,000 costs following their investigation of the 2007 audits of Cattles and its principal trading subsidiary. PwC admitted their “conduct fell significantly short of the standards reasonably to be expected of a member firm” in respect of the 2007 financial statements. The FRC said that PwC had insufficient audit evidence as to the adequacy of loan loss provisions.
PCAOB report on audit inspections
The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) report on audit work carried out by PwC in 2012 in respect of US public companies identified significant deficiencies in 21 of 52 audits examined. The PCAOB report on work carried out in 2013 identified significant deficiencies in 19 of 59 audits examined.
PwC Ireland is being sued by the joint administrators of Quinn Insurance Limited (QIL) for €1bn. Having been audited by PwC for the years 2005 to 2008, QIL went into administration in 2010. The administrators allege that PwC should have identified a material understatement of QIL’s provisions for claims.
Connaught plc, a UK former FTSE 250 Index outsourcing company operating in property maintenance for the social housing and public sector, was put into administration on 2010 after reporting material losses. The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) is investigating the conduct of PwC and its senior statutory auditor in respect of the 2009 audit. In 2015 the FRC issued a formal disciplinary complaint against PwC.
In 2014 Tesco, a UK retailer, announced that it had overstated profits by £263m, amongst other things by misreporting discounts with suppliers. The Financial Reporting Council has started an investigation into accounting practices at Tesco and into the conduct of PwC in carrying out its audits in 2012, 2013 and 2014. Two members of Tesco’s Audit Committee, responsible for monitoring Tesco’s relationship wth its auditors, had themselves previously worked for PwC, including its chairman, Ken Hanna; he later stood down. In 2015 PwC were replaced as auditors of Tesco, ending a 32-year engagement, following a tender process to which they did not participate.
Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ
In 2014, The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ was investigated by New York banking regulators over its role in routing payments for Iranian customers through its New York branch in violation of U.S. sanctions. It was found that PwC had altered an investigation report on the issue; PwC itself was fined $25 million in relation to the matter.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation by Microsoft founder Bill Gates has sued Petrobras and accounting firm PwC Brazil arm over investment losses due to corruption at the Brazilian oil company. The filings have also alleged that PwC’s Brazil affiliate, PricewaterhouseCoopers Auditores Independentes, played a significant role by attesting to Petrobras financial statements and ignoring warnings.
PwC in the UK is being investigated by the Financial Reporting Council over its conduct in relation to the audit of BHS for the year to 30 August 2014. PwC completed their audit of financial statements in which BHS was described as a going concern days before its sale for £1 to a consortium with no retail experience. BHS collapsed the following year with a substantial deficit in its pension fund.
MF Global malpractice lawsuit
In 2016, United States federal judge rejected PwC’s bid to dismiss a $1 billion lawsuit accusing the accounting firm of professional malpractice for helping cause the October 2011 bankruptcy of MF Global Holdings Ltd, a brokerage once run by former New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine
Additional Director General of Police VV Lakshminarayana investigated the Satyam computers scandal. Currently he is ADGP Admin in Maharashtra.
Raju and the gang of criminal international accounting firms succeeded in extracting vengeance against Lakshminarayana.
Of course, Raju was supposed to be in prison undergoing rigorous imprisonment since April 2015.
Private sector foreign banks have ‘sold’ their bad debts of small borrowers to private banks in India. Citi Financial sold its debts to Kotak Mahindra that has begun hounding those hurt by the financial downturn. Obviously, none is going to take a close look at how Satyam Computers morphed into Mahindra Satyam! Incidentally, close relatives of Ramalinga Raju of Satyam ill-fame have begun a business venture in Hyderabad. One of its mainstays is a man who had forged the Satyam fraud into the sweet Mahindra Satyam deal!
Satyam scam began hitting the headlines.
Raju was accused of falsifying accounts and boosting the company’s health in the balance sheet by US$ 1 billion.
In what seemed totally unconnected incident, three Indians – A.R. Rahman, Resul Pookkutty and Gulzar [the first two are Muslims - converted and born respectively and the third’s real name is Sampooran Singh Kalra [an ‘Arora’ Sikh by birth] whose more famous name is an Islamic nom-de-plume] were nominated several times for the Oscars.
Against all odds, Rahman, Pookkutty and Gulzar won two, one and one Oscars respectively.
After receiving the award for his song “Jai Ho” for the movie Slumdog Millionaire, from the podium, Rahman exhorted the world to “turn to peace and eschew war.”
PwC was the auditor for not only Satyam but also continues to count the votes for the Oscars.
The worst global economic downturn ever had begun August 2008 which affected the Middle-East [already seething over what the Islamic world sees the West’s double standards by branding its faith as the origin of terrorism] but “Islamic” oil is the international industrial lifeline amounting to roughly 35% of the current global supplies.
And because of such a large chunk of what makes the gigantic global machine work, Islamic wealth accounts for roughly 18% of the world’s wealth, something that can never be wished away or destroyed just like that!
The anger against what happened in Iraq, is happening in Pakistan and Afghanistan what may, in all likelihood, happen in Iran, had created the potential situation of every Islamic nation creating its own versions of home grown Osama Bin Ladens.
So the globe’s multiple Islamic national crescents’ decision makers and the general laity had to be quietly albeit indirectly told that the first world is prepared to do business with Muslims but is only against terrorism. “Change and/or Convert to peace and turn away from the attitude of being totally sold on war,” was the message that had to be conveyed - in one quick, all pervasive, clever move.
Taking out advertisements in newspapers, television channels, public news conferences, whispering campaigns, posted newsletters and cold diplomatic calls were out the question. So one major event was needed to keep the Islamic world focussed on, build up its hopes and deliver the results the Islamic believers wanted.
At that point in time, there were 3 Islamic names in the Oscars - and no Asian other than the late Satyajit Ray had ever won it. Even Ray had been given one only for a “lifetime achievement” and never for a particular film.
It is difficult to imagine that PwC economists – the best in the world – would have been naive enough to let such a golden opportunity slip.
So, did someone somewhere strike a multiple quid pro quo to allow PwC to ‘honourably fade away’ from the “bad publicity?”
Did PwC facilitate Satyam’s changing hands seamlessly to save the bulk of its work force and asset in return for doing the first world a favour by ensuring the three media personalities Rahman, Resul and Gulzar won Oscars beating all odds?
One must remember that Slumdog Millionaire was all but scheduled to be directly released into the DVD circuit as it had no buyers.
Rahman never considered the music scored for the movie as his best.
He said so repeatedly in public interviews.
A.R. Rahman who had converted to Islam from Hinduism got two awards.
The born Muslim Resul Pookkutty and the person with the Islamic pen name - Gulzar get one each.
Sikhism is religiously considered a bridge between Hinduism and Islam.
And Lt General Jagjit Singh AURORA [the same religious denominational origin as Gulzar] was a Sikh who defeated the entire Pakistani army stationed in what is now Bangladesh!
The innate message:
“Convert [to peace] and you will be nicely awarded.”
“Meanwhile, here are samples [like what Resul and Gulzar received] to discern what beckons the original Muslims – ones born into that religion”.
Tellingly, the Islamic world was lulled into ‘a kind of peaceful complacency’ between February and August 2009.
The blue-chip auditing company PwC has all but beaten the rap!
CBI sources maintain that all Raju is being questioned on all the above aspects.
Europe and America account for about 81% of PwC’s annual revenue.
Europe alone accounts for 45% of this inflow.
The firm’s dominant practice, auditing, accounts for over 50% of PwC’s revenue.
As of March 2005, PricewaterhouseCoopers’ audit clients included four of the 10 largest public companies in the United States including Exxon, Mobil, Ford, ChevronTexaco and IBM and GlaxoSmithKline, Royal Dutch Shell, Barclays and Lloyds TSB in the United Kingdom.
PwC also audits 40% of FTSE 100 Index firms and 45 percent of Fortune 1000 energy companies.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences – the owners of Oscar Awards vide various avatars since 1934, accords PwC a unique distinction of being the tabulator and certifier of the number of votes garnered by each film entered into various categories for the Academy Awards.
Tech Mahindra Ltd won the Satyam bid bettering Wilbur Ross and Larsen & Toubro Ltd and plumbing US$ 579 million.
TML paid Rs.59 per share while just a year back, a Satyam share was worth nearly 10 times that amount.
Shares of TML [31 percent owned by BT Group PLC] rose by 12% on the Indian bourses.
Satyam’s financials are being reviewed by KPMG and Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu as the company’s former auditors Price Waterhouse Coopers were no longer considered reliable.
Charges of fraud were filed against Raju and a few PWC officials.
Evidence: Bloomberg April 13 2009
PWC may be blacklisted in India
The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Indi [ICAI] a, a Tax Guru report said, was likely to recommend blacklisting of Price Waterhouse, and bar the global audit firm from carrying on its enterprises in India.
The report recalled that a Japanese audit firm affiliated to PricewaterhouseCoopers had been similarly treated upon receipt of charges of tampering with clients’ accounts in 2006.
In its independent probe into the Satyam fraud case, the ICAI, which is the nodal body for accountants and auditors in the country, has found the two auditors, Subramani Gopalakrishnan and Srinivas Talluri, were not carrying out adequate due diligence while auditing the books of the software major.
Satyam Computer, now called Mahindra Satyam, is an SEC-registered company.
The fraud, which encompassed many aspects including banking, debtor information and HR issues, was, at its core, related to forged bank documents.
It is widely speculated that the former Satyam management kept money in a current account and showed it as fixed assets instead of bank balance by creating false receipts. This is one of the aspects being looked into by the CBI.
Price Waterhouse, however, maintained that it has “seen no evidence from any source that indicates that the two Price Waterhouse audit partners who worked on the Satyam audit, were complicit in or otherwise aware of the Satyam fraud.”
ICAI regulations prohibit foreign firms from using their own names in India, most global firms operate through local firms.
According to Indian auditing circles, the PricewaterhouseCoopers audit network consists of 10 firms, three Price Waterhouse firms, four firms named Price Waterhouse & Co, two Dalal & Shah firms and one firm called Lovelock & Lewes.
Each firm is a separate partnership firm with a maximum of 20 partners each.
Each firm has a head office and several branch offices.
Price Waterhouse, Bangalore, was the firm that audited the Satyam account.
This firm had branch offices in several cities including Hyderabad, where the fraud was discovered.
The two auditors were partners of Price Waterhouse, Bangalore.
[Source taxguru.in July 14 2009]
The US accounting watchdog has imposed sanctions against two Indian auditors who were affiliated with PricewaterhouseCoopers after they failed to detect at multi-year fraud at Indian technology services company Satyam Computer Services Ltd.
Satyam, since renamed Mahindra Satyam, was hit by India’s largest corporate scandal when its founder and chairman quit in January 2009, revealing profits had been overstated for years.
An Indian affiliate of PwC called Lovelock & Lewes had been Satyam’s auditors at the time.
The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), a US agency responsible for monitoring audit firms, said it would bar two accountants responsible for the Satyam audits from “being an associated person of a registered public accounting firm,” according to documents dated March 16.
The PCAOB, which was given authority to investigate audit firms as part of the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley reforms, said the auditors, Siva Prasad Pulavarthi, 43, and Chintapatla Ravindernath, 38, had not cooperated with a PCAOB investigation into the fraud.
Prasad and Ravindernath, who were each engagement managers on Satyam’s audits for several years, resigned from Lovelock in January 2010 and around the same time said through their attorneys they would not comply with the PCAOB’s demands for their testimony, according to the PCAOB documents.
Attorneys for the two auditors could not be immediately located, but the PCAOB documents said the two had submitted settlement offers to the Board, without admitting or denying their role, and consented to the sanctions.
The fraud, in which Satyam’s founder revealed he had overstated the company’s cash balance by $1 billion, left Satyam struggling for survival. In April 2009, Tech Mahindra Ltd won an auction for a controlling stake in the troubled company.
PricewaterhouseCoopers said in January 2009 that all Satyam audit reports from 2000 through 2008 should no longer relied upon.