SEC judge suspends Big Four China units

by Richard Crump

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23 Jan 2014

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CHINESE UNITS of the Big Four accounting firms should be banned from conducting audits of US-listed companies, a Securities and Exchange Commission judge has ruled.

The decision, which escalates a long-running dispute between US and Chinese regulators over access to auditing documents of Chinese companies listed on the US stock exchange, will see the Big Four firms barred from working on behalf of any US-listed Chinese companies for six months if it is upheld.

The ruling will not come into immediate affect and the four firms have said they intend to appeal the decision.

"In the meantime the firms can and will continue to serve all their clients without interruption," the Chinese affiliates of PwC, KPMG, Deloitte and EY said in a joint statement.

In 2012, the SEC accused the firms, and BDO's Chinese affiliate, of breaking securities laws by refusing to produce documents related to their audits of several China-based clients under investigation for fraud.

The actions stemmed from a broader inquiry into Chinese companies listed on American exchanges.

BDO's Chinese unit was only censured as it had already withdrawn from the US market.

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