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Matt Levine

PwC Didn't Want to Say Mean Things About Its Client

If regulation relies on people confessing their crimes to the regulators, they're going to confess ... y'know, a certain percentage of their crimes. It's not going to be 100 percent.

There's much that is strange about this story of PricewaterhouseCoopers's consulting work for Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, starting with the fact that PwC "is accused of lacking the objectivity and integrity expected of consultants but not actually breaking the law." There are some pretty big assumptions in that sentence! What objectivity and integrity do you expect from consultants?

Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi had done some illegal transactions with Iran and Sudan and so forth, and it hired PwC to do a historical transaction review of all those illegal transactions. The idea was that PwC would write a report, and the bank would submit it to the New York Department of Financial Services as part of its plea for leniency for, you know, doing all those illegal transactions. PwC wrote the report, and the bank sent some edits to basically make it sound less bad. Here is the Department of Financial Services: