Bank Consultant Suspended for Altering Report
PriceWaterhouseCoopers will pay $25 million and face a two-year suspension from consulting for new bank clients under an agreement with New York regulators following an investigation that showed the company improperly altered a report about Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi laundering money.
Monday's agreement followed a $250 million settlement between the bank and the same regulators last year.
New York's Department of Financial Services said its investigation showed PriceWaterhouseCoopers, under pressure from bank executives, improperly altered a report to regulators on bank wire transfers on behalf of Iran, Sudan and other countries under U.S. sanctions.
"We are continuing to find examples of improper influence and misconduct in the bank consulting industry," department Superintendent Benjamin Lawsky said. "When bank executives pressure a consultant to whitewash a supposedly 'objective' report to regulators—and the consultant goes along with it—that can strike at the very heart of our system of prudential oversight."
Miles Everson, U.S. advisory leader for PriceWaterhouseCoopers, said the agreement related to a single engagement completed more than six years ago in which the company searched for and identified transactions that were self-reported by the bank to regulators. Its detailed report "disclosed the relevant facts" that it learned, he said.
The resolution of the case reinforces PriceWaterhouseCoopers' commitment to meeting changes in regulatory expectations, he said.
The department said PriceWaterhouseCoopers reviewed the Tokyo bank's dollar-clearing activity and transactions that potentially should have been blocked. The company found the bank had issued special instructions to employees to strip out wire messages that would have triggered alerts, the department said.
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