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PwC Probed Over Barclays Capital U.K. Client Money Reports

A U.K. accounting regulator is investigating whether PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP’s reports on client assets at Barclays Capital Securities Ltd. broke financial rules.

The Accountancy & Actuarial Discipline Board is reviewing PwC’s reports to the Financial Services Authority outlining Barclays Capital’s compliance with client-asset separation rules between December 2001 and 2009, the London-based accounting regulator said in a statement today.

The FSA fined the bank 1.12 million pounds ($1.7 million) in January for failing to put as much as 752 million pounds a day of client money into protected accounts that were separate from its own money-market deposits. The AADB is already seeking a record fine of at least 1.5 million pounds against PwC in a similar case concerning regulatory reports on client-money accounts at JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s London securities unit.

“We will cooperate fully with the AADB investigation and we will be defending our work vigorously,” PwC said in an e-mailed statement.

Tim Dutton, a lawyer for PwC, told a London tribunal in the JPMorgan case last month that the fine should be capped at 1 million pounds because the firm had admitted and apologized for the error, which was a “result of information technology changes made by JPM treasury staff,” and that no clients of the bank had lost money.

“The focus of the AADB is on cases which raise important issues affecting the public interest,” the regulator said in an e-mailed statement today.

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