PwC Australia announced on Monday that it has terminated the employment of eight partners following an internal investigation regarding the unauthorized disclosure of confidential government tax plans by a former partner.
Among the individuals affected, Tom Seymour, the former CEO, is included among the eight partners who have either departed or are currently undergoing the separation process, reported Reuters. Seymour stepped down in May following his admission of having received emails containing sensitive information regarding the government's tax plans.
PwC Australia has stated that Seymour will be departing from the firm prior to his previously scheduled retirement date. Alongside Seymour, the remaining seven partners mentioned by PwC have not yet provided a comment in response to the situation.
In a statement, PwC Australia acknowledged that their investigation uncovered several instances of "misuse of confidential information" that violated professional standards. Additionally, the investigation revealed deficiencies in leadership and governance in effectively addressing these breaches.
"Accountability is critical to improving our culture and based on our investigation to date, it is clear that the conduct of a number of partners fell short of what was expected of them. They are now being held accountable for their misconduct," acting CEO Kristin Stubbins said in the statement, according to a report by Reuters.
These terminations represent PwC's most recent efforts to mitigate the repercussions of a scandal that initially came to light in January. The scandal involved a former partner who, while advising the Australian government on proposed tax laws aimed at combatting corporate tax avoidance, shared confidential draft documents with colleagues. These leaked documents were subsequently utilized for business proposals.
Out of the eight individuals who were dismissed, PwC specifically highlighted three for their actions that were deemed to have fallen short of meeting their professional obligations. Regarding the remaining five individuals, one of whom was the leader of the firm's financial advisory division, their removal was attributed to their failure to prevent the aforementioned actions or adequately hold others accountable for their behaviour.
With these recent dismissals, the total count of individuals implicated in the leak as identified by the firm now stands at 12. Prior to this, four former partners, including the one responsible for originally sharing the confidential information, had already departed from the company.