January 19, 2018 / 7:07 AM / 7 months ago

Indian tribunal refuses to lift Price Waterhouse audit ban

MUMBAI (Reuters) - The Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) said on Friday that Price Waterhouse can continue to service existing clients whose financial year started on Jan. 1 2018, but refused to grant a stay on a two-year audit ban ordered by the market regulator.

A bird flies past the logo of Price Waterhouse installed on the facade of its office in Mumbai, India, January 11, 2018. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) last week barred Price Waterhouse from auditing listed companies in the country for two years, after a probe into a nearly decade-old accounting fraud case in a software services company that became India’s biggest corporate scandal.

“The clarification that current engagements can continue through the year, is welcome,” Price Waterhouse said in a statement.

“We are happy that Securities and Appellate Tribunal (SAT) has expressed its intention to resolve our appeal against SEBI on an expedited basis, and has set an expectation of a tight timeline of six weeks to dispose the appeal.”

SEBI had allowed Price Waterhouse to continue auditing books for the current fiscal year ending in March. Most Indian companies follow an April-March financial year.

Price Waterhouse had appealed to SAT to lift the SEBI ban, but the tribunal only agreed to give it a reprieve to permit it to complete audits it had already taken on for the 2018 calendar year.

Reporting by Abhirup Roy; Writing by Swati Bhat; Editing by Euan Rocha and Alexander Smith

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