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PwC goes on charm offensive

business Updated: Jan 29, 2009 10:23 IST
Anupama Airy
Anupama Airy
Hindustan Times
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Global auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) is apparently in a fire-fighting mode after suffering a shock in the Satyam Computer Services fraudcase. It is reaching out to clients with an all-is-well message, believed to be in measures to assuage clients as the clock ticks away for a roll-over of deals.

Its global chief executive officer (CEO) Samuel A DiPiazza Jr has flown in to India after cutting short his visit to the World Economic Forum in the Swiss resort of Davos, where global business leaders and policy-makers gather to thrash out key issues. A new auditing season begins in June, and among the clients that Pricewaterhouse (PW), an arm of PwC, will hope to retain are Maruti Suzuki, Bosch, HCL Technologies, United Spirits Ltd, Reliance Power and Glenmark Pharma.

Two PW partners were arrested last weekend in connection with the account-book irregularities in Satyam. PW is accused of negligence or complicity in the cooking of account-books by deposed chairman Ramalinga Raju, who has confessed to fraud. On Tuesday, the firm suspended the two partners S. Gopalakrishnan and Srinivas Talluri until the probe into the tech firm’s
accounting irregularities are complete.

DiPiazza is expected to meet senior government officials, including corporate affairs minister PC Gupta.

“He is here to discuss the situation in detail and to offer support to the firm in India,” a PwC spokesperson said curtly. Breaking his prolonged silence, PwC India chairman N.Ramesh Rajan has written a letter to all its existing clients.

“Because of our continuing confidentiality obligations to Satyam and pending legal and regulatory proceedings, we are unable to respond publicly to these unhappy developments. Our inability to make public comment, however, should not be construed as PW endorsing or agreeing with media speculation,” he said.

Rajan’s communication to the firm’s clients followed closely on the heels of assurance leader, Thomas Mathew’s stepping down.

Assuring clients about the firm’s quality of service, Rajan said: “PW has been active in the Indian market for over a hundred years and remains committed to maintaining the highest standards in its service to clients in India.”