MOSCOW, June 26 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's Finance Ministry said it started looking into a complaint filed in the spring by the tax authorities against U.K.-based PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), also the auditor for the bankrupt Yukos oil company in 2002-04.
"The Finance Ministry has received a complaint against the company, and this claim will be studied," said Leonid Shneidman, chief of the financial control department in the ministry.
The Moscow offices of PwC, whose license to operate in Russia was extended for five years in April, were raided in early March on allegations of $9 million tax evasion, which the company denied.
Separately, the British auditor has also been accused of helping its former client Yukos to cover up its tax evasion schemes by drawing up two different audit reports in 2002-04.
PwC said the prosecutors had misinterpreted an auditor's role, but then suddenly withdrew its Yukos audits for 1995-2004 Sunday, saying the information provided by Yukos's former management "may not have been accurate."
Commenting on this decision, Shneidman said it was the first incident of the kind in Russian auditing practice. "I think it is the first such case, nothing like this has happened on the Russian market before," he said.
PwC clients in Russia include the Central Bank and Russia's electricity monopoly Unified Energy System [RTS: EESR]. The company won a tender in April to audit Russian state-controlled energy giant Gazprom [RTS: GAZP], its client since 1995. The AvtoVAZ auto-maker did not extend its contract with PwC.