【英语中国】中国批评美国针对“四大”中国分部禁令 China criticises US Securities and Exchange Commission auditor ban

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2014-1-27 08:45

小艾摘要: China has criticised a US decision to ban the Chinese arms of the big four global auditing firms from working for US-listed companies, adding fuel to a longstanding dispute over foreign access to Chin ...
China criticises US Securities and Exchange Commission auditor ban
China has criticised a US decision to ban the Chinese arms of the big four global auditing firms from working for US-listed companies, adding fuel to a longstanding dispute over foreign access to Chinese financial information.

An administrative trial judge with the US Securities and Exchange Commission ruled this week that the four joint ventures – Ernst & Young Hua Ming, KPMG Huazhen, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu and PwC Zhong Tian – had violated US rules by failing to give US regulators audit documents of Chinese companies under investigation for accounting fraud.

The judge recommended that the Chinese affiliates of the big four be suspended from auditing US-listed Chinese companies for six months, a threat that has knocked nearly 10 per cent off the share prices of Chinese companies ranging from search engine operator Baidu to travel website Qunar.

Although these Chinese companies – which have issued share-like depositary receipts in the US – can turn to smaller auditors, a ban on the big four would make it difficult for them to publish their 2013 results on schedule. This delay could, in turn, result in their suspension from trading and throw the future of their US listings into doubt. The big four have said they will appeal against the SEC ruling.

In the first official Chinese comment on the decision, the securities regulator in Beijing had harsh words for its US counterpart.

“The ruling ignores the efforts and progress made by China on providing audit documents and in cross-border law enforcement,” said Deng Ge, a spokesman with the China Securities Regulatory Commission. “The SEC should bear full responsibility for the possible consequences of the ban.”

Auditors of US-listed Chinese companies complain that they have been placed in an impossible position because of a failure of the country’s two regulators to reach agreement on auditing practices.

On one hand, the US has demanded that auditors hand over their working papers after a series of Chinese companies listed in the US defrauded investors by exaggerating their profits and lying about their business ventures. On the other hand, Chinese regulators have said it would be illegal to share such information without express permission.

Investors had thought the dispute between the US and China was on the way to being settled last year, after the US Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) and the China securities regulator had signed a memorandum of understanding. The MOU allowed US regulators to request auditing information from Chinese companies suspected of fraud, but they remained barred from conducting on-the-ground inspections of Chinese auditors.

中国批评了美国禁止全球四大审计公司的中国分部为在美国上市公司提供审计服务的决定,此举加剧了围绕外国获取中国财务信息的长期争端。

美国证券交易委员会(SEC)的一名行政审判法官本周裁定,四家合资公司——安永华明(Ernst & Young Hua Ming)、毕马威华振(KPMG Huazhen)、德勤华永(Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu)以及普华永道中天(PwC Zhong Tian)——违反了美国的规则,未能向美国监管机构提交正受到会计欺诈调查的中国公司的审计文件。

法官建议,暂停“四大”的中国分部为在美上市中国企业提供审计服务6个月,这一威胁已使搜索引擎运营商百度(Baidu)和旅行网站去哪儿(Qunar)等中国企业的股价下跌近10%。

虽然这些在美国发行了存托凭证(类似于股票)的中国公司可转向较小的审计机构,但是禁用“四大”可能使它们难以按时发表2013年财务报表。这种延误进而可能导致它们被停牌,给它们在美国上市的未来蒙上阴影。“四大”已表示,他们将对SEC的裁定提起上诉。

中国证券监管机构就此发表中国方面的第一个评论,对美国同行发出尖锐批评。

“这一裁定无视中方在提供审计底稿和推进中美跨境执法合作所做的努力和已经取得的进展,”中国证券监督管理委员会(CSRC)新闻发言人邓舸表示。“对此判决可能产生的后果,美国证监会应承担全部责任。”

在美上市的中国公司的审计机构抱怨称,他们被置于一个不可能的处境,因为两国监管机构不能就审计操作实践达成一致。

一方面,在一连串在美国上市的中国公司夸大利润,谎报商业项目,构成对投资者的欺诈后,美国方面要求审计师交出审计底稿。另一方面,中国监管机构表示,未经明确许可分享这些信息将是违法的。

投资者去年曾以为,美中之间的纠纷有望解决,因为美国上市公司会计监督委员会(PCAOB)和中国证券监管机构签署了一份谅解备忘录。该谅解备忘录允许美国监管机构请求从涉嫌欺诈的中国公司获得审计信息,但他们仍被禁止对在华审计机构进行实地检查。

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