(Bloomberg) PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP was fined $25 million after sanitizing a report to regulators on sanctions and money-laundering controls for Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd., New York’s top bank regulator said today.
The bank persuaded PwC Regulatory Advisory Services to change a compliance report related to financial transactions with sanctioned countries including Iran and Sudan between June 2006 and June 2008, according to a settlement with Benjamin Lawsky, superintendent of New York’s Department of Financial Services.
“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,” Lawsky said in a statement announcing the settlement.
PwC was also banned for two years from consulting work with companies regulated by Lawsky and must implement changes to address conflicts of interest in consulting. It’s his second suspension of a financial-advisory firm. The Department of Financial Services hit Deloitte LLP’s Financial Advisory Services with a one-year ban in 2013 for work performed on behalf of Standard Chartered Bank Plc.
"This matter relates to a single engagement completed more than six years ago in which PwC searched for and identified relevant transactions that were self-reported to regulators by PwC’s client,” said PwC’s US advisory leader Miles Everson in an e-mailed statement. “PwC's detailed report also disclosed the relevant facts that PwC learned subsequent to its search process. PwC is proud of its long history of contributing to the safety and soundness of the financial system by serving as subject matter experts in banking regulatory and compliance matters and the firm is committed to improving continuously and meeting changes in regulatory expectations. This resolution reinforces that commitment."
An external spokesman for the bank, James Barron of Sard Verbinnen & Co., declined to comment.
Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, part of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc., reached a settlement with Lawsky’s department in 2013 and agreed to pay $250 million for violations of U.S. sanctions laws.