Auditors from PricewaterhouseCoopers will pass information on customers holding accounts with the failed Bank of Credit and Commerce International to a US court, following a High Court decision published this week.
The action heard before Mr Justice Rattee resulted from an action brought in the US by First American Corporation, which sought evidence from PwC to prove whether BCCI had dressed up payments for acquiring shares in First American’s holding company, Credit and Commerce American Holdings, as loans to nominees who bought shares on its behalf.
First American was itself put out of business by BCCI’s collapse.
The American subpoena put PwC in a dilemma which could only be resolved by the High Court – disclosing the information would breach its duties of confidentiality to its audit client BCCI and those of the bank’s customers.
The judge decided that PwC’s duty of confidentiality was overridden by public interest in seeing the US proceedings brought to a successful conclusion, which could result in further recoveries for BCCI depositors.
In presentations to the court, Deloitte & Touche, the bank’s UK liquidator, consented to PwC breaking any confidence it may have owed Deloittes.
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