PwC Australia ties Google to tax leak scandal


In August 2015, one of Collins’ colleagues emailed a Google employee to confirm the likely start date for the government’s Multinational Anti-Avoidance Law, a source said. — Reuters

SYDNEY: PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Australia provided Google confidential information about the start date of a new tax law leaked from Australian government tax briefings, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

This is the first time a company has been directly linked to the national scandal involving the “big four” accounting firm that was first revealed in January.

PwC is facing scrutiny because several years ago a former partner, Peter Collins, who advised the Australian government on anti-tax avoidance laws shared confidential drafts with colleagues about the government’s plans that were then used to drum up business with multinational companies.

In August 2015, one of Collins’ colleagues emailed a Google employee to confirm the likely start date for the government’s Multinational Anti-Avoidance Law, according to one of the sources.

While the Jan 1, 2016 start date for the law had been announced in the government’s budget papers in May 2015, the confirmation that the government would go ahead with that date came from confidential government briefings, the source said.At the time, a number of organisations had called for the government to delay the planned January 2016 start date.

The former partner did not tell Google the information was confidential, the source said. The sources asked not to be named as the information has not been authorised for public release.

PwC has not publicly identified any client in relation to the scandal, which was sparked by Collins breaching confidentiality agreements signed with the government between 2013 and 2018.

Reuters could not establish if Google was a client of PwC Australia at the time and if it used the information in any way. — Reuters

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