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November 29, 2022

Did a PwC Partner Leak Client Financial Data? A Court Will Decide

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We briefly mentioned the following case in an August 2020 link dump of several Big 4 lawsuits going on at the time, there is now a date set for court so we’re throwing out an update.

The allegation is that former PwC north of England head Ian Green leaked sensitive information about his client, telling an outside M&A banker that the client was going to run out of cash, making the client ripe for a takeover. The client — an insurance and technology group now called Watchstone but called Quindell at the time of the alleged leak — engaged PwC in 2014 for a review of its financial condition and accounting practices, paying more than $5 million for these services. So it stands to reason that the firm had a pretty intimate view of Quindell’s finances at the time.

Via FN:

The Big Four firm is being sued for £63m by Aquis-listed insurance firm Watchstone — formerly known as Quindell.

Watchstone claims Green leaked confidential information about it to a Greenhill banker in 2015, who was advising law firm Slater & Gordon on the acquisition of Quindell’s professional services arm.

“We deny these allegations and are vigorously defending this claim,” PwC said in a statement. Green could not be reached for comment.

PwC was engaged by Watchstone — then Quindell — in 2014 to review its finances and its accounting practices. Quindell paid PwC more than £5m in fees during 2014 and 2015.

According to Watchstone’s claim, which it filed against PwC in August 2020, Greenhill banker Gavin Davies told colleagues that “if we find [Quindell] are in a real corner we can take them to the cleaners”.

In an email to colleagues at Greenhill following the meeting, Davies said Green — then a senior restructuring partner at PwC — had told him Quindell would run out of cash in mid-2015 and that Green would “quietly” look further into the company’s finances on the behalf of Davies and Slater & Gordon. Davies left Greenhill in 2018 for broker Zeus Capital.

What’s funny is the only reason the leak accusation came out is because Slater & Gordon sued Quindell for misrepresenting the value of its professional services division when it bought it from them for $637 million in 2015.

Ian Green left PwC Green left PwC in June 2021, at which time PwC said in a statement that his exit had been “planned for some time and is not related to the claim.”

Related:
PwC partner accused of leaking client information in £63m lawsuit exits firm [Financial News]

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