64 staff, partners’ names handed over

“At all times I worked with my clients to comply with Australian law, and not avoid it.”

Michael Bersten, a former tax and legal partner at PwC.Credit:

Bersten has been contacted for comment.

These partners are separate from the nine partners recently stood down – for reasons that include broader governance failures related to the scandal – pending the outcome of the group’s investigation.

A further 63 PwC partners and staff have been named as receiving at least one of the confidential emails, according to the communique with staff. This information has not been released publicly by the firm.

The names were provided in response to questions on notice from Greens senator Barbara Pocock. The Senate committee will receive the names on Tuesday morning.

“I am hopeful that response will be published, although this is a decision for the committee,” Pocock said.

“It is important to ensure that those who are not responsible for any wrongdoing do not suffer any adverse repercussions. The onus is now on PwC to come clean with the Australian public and hand over this information.”

Labor senator Deborah O’Neill rebuked PwC for not releasing the names itself.

“PwC should release these names themselves, and they should do it publicly. In my opinion, this is an attempt to use the cloak of the Senate to maintain confidentiality,” she said.

“The whole of parliament, the Australian public, and the international audit, assurance and consultancy sector deserve to know the identities of those who participated in this egregious breach of trust and assault against the interests of the Commonwealth.”

The Australian Federal Police commenced a criminal investigation into the matter last month after a referral from the Treasury Department.


Treasury secretary Steven Kennedy said the release of emails by the Tax Practitioners Board on May 2 highlighted the significant extent of the unauthorised disclosure of confidential information and the “wide range of individuals within PwC who were directly and indirectly privy to the confidential information”.

The Tax Practitioners Board banned Collins after finding he had shared confidential government briefings on multinational tax reform with PwC partners and clients to help them sidestep the laws.

Since then, the board has tabled 144 pages of documents with Senate estimates showing more than 50 PwC staff and partners had been included in emails discussing confidential government tax plans. These documents were released early last month.

Last week, Tax Practitioners Board chief executive Michael O’Neill said it was compiling a list of people who received emails about the tax leak. He said the board had also asked PwC to provide the names of the nine partners who had been stood down last Monday pending the consulting firm’s own investigation into the matter.

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