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PwC pays Spanish government £29m to save former execs from jail

PwC pays Spanish government £29m to save former execs from jail

Executive Grapevine | Executive Grapevine International Ltd

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has paid the Spanish government over €37million (£29million) to stop former executives serving jail time for fraud, The Guardian reports.

The Guardian says that the quartet of former executives includes ex-President Miguel Fernández de Pinedo. They were each looking at a maximum sentence of 14 years for the role they played in the allegedly fraudulent sale of PwC’s systems consultancy to IBM in 2002. The charges against one current member of staff and 40 former members of staff have been dropped.

It is also alledged that they claimed an advance of €21million (£16.7million) from the deal that should have been declared as income, not as an increase in the business’ assets. However, they say that the payment was linked to the segregation of the systems consultancy and its subsequent sale to IBM and was therefore declared as assets, not income.

The executives have been sentenced to three to six months in jail, but this is only a symbolic sentence.  

The report goes on to say that the anti-corruption attorney-general’s office said PwC’s willingness to pay up was key to reaching a settlement, and that the €37million is made up of €17million (£13.5million) in unpaid tax, €11million (£8.7million) in interest and a €9million (£7.2million) fine.

A spokesperson for PwC Spain said: “PwC Spain is pleased that this case has now been settled and that many years of uncertainty and litigation have come to an end.

“The settlement related to complex, multifaceted, technical issues dating back to 2002. The individuals involved in the settlement have retired as partners from PwC, at least eight years ago.”