PwC Tells Brazilian Court It Has No Liability for Americanas’ $4B Shortfall

The auditing firm said the case is complex, and that further legal steps still need to be taken to determine liability

PwC has called the lawsuit 'sensationalist' and denies liability for Americanas' losses.
By Bloomberg Línea
February 07, 2023 | 05:28 PM

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Bloomberg Línea — In its defense presented to a Rio de Janeiro court, auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has denied any liability for the 20 billion reais ($3.8 billion) shortfall in the accounts of retail giant Americanas (AMER3).

The company, which was responsible for auditing the retailer’s balance sheets for four years, said it had no relation to the “accounting inconsistencies” and that the case is “complex and controversial”, and which will still require further legal action.

This is the first time the company has made a public statement since the accounting issue was disclosed on January 11.

The lawsuit was filed against PwC and Brazil’s Securities and Exchange Commission (CVM) by the Brazilian Association for the Defense of Consumers and Workers (Abradecont). In the suit, the entity requests the freezing of PwC’s assets and that the auditor be prohibited from releasing reports “aimed at the stock market”.

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The suit also includes the CVM’s request for the presentation of all the proceedings filed against the retailer.

In response in the lawsuit, PwC said that the action has a “sensationalist character” and demands “out of purpose” measures that can cause “colossal damage” to its activities.

It also claimed that “nothing that is alleged allows any judgment of PwC’s liability for the accounting inconsistencies” of Americanas.

The retailer has been filed for bankruptcy protection and restructuring on January 19 with more than 40 billion reais ($7.7 billion) in debts, although the retailer initially claimed to have 41.2 billion reais in debt ($7.9 billion), while the judicial reorganization proceedings put the figure at 47.9 billion reais ($9.2 billion).