PwC auditors accused of assisting Satyam fraud

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PwC auditors accused of assisting Satyam fraud

Two PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) auditors stand accused of helping Satyam chairman Ramalinga Raju to inflate the company's profits by 50.4bn rupees (US$1 billion) in a scandal that is now commonly referred to as 'India's Enron'.

Subramani Gopala Krishnan and Talluri Srinivas are currently in police custody in India and have been suspended from their normal duties at PwC.

A number of PwC employees have been flown out to Hyderabad to help deal with the publicity and imminent legal battle.

Meanwhile, Raju and his brother Rama - another Satyam co-founder - and chief financial officer Srinivas Vadlamani are still awaiting trial and face life in prison if convicted.

Speculation has been rife since Raju first admitted the fraud at the beginning of the year that a number of other firms must have collaborated with him to tamper with the balance sheet.

At the time of his arrest, Vadlamani claimed that PwC had not pointed out any deficiencies in the financial reports.

A number of media reports claim that the PwC auditors have confessed to their involvement in the scam, but the confessions have been seen only in police reports and not in any formal documents submitted to the court.

PwC has been the official Satyam auditor since 2000, but said earlier this month that its audit reports on the company could no longer be relied on. PwC's audit head in India resigned on Tuesday.

A Satyam spokesman said that, because the investigation is ongoing, it is inappropriate to comment at this time.

Satyam has hired Goldman Sachs as its new investment bankers to advise the company on how to deal with the situation, and to look for buyers for the firm.

Some reports have suggested that up to seven companies are interested in buying the outsourcing giant.

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