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PricewaterhouseCoopers fined $25M for 'whitewash' on sanctions compliance

PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP was fined $25 million after sanitizing a report to regulators on sanctions and money-laundering controls for Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd., New York's top bank regulator said Monday.

The bank persuaded PWC Regulatory Advisory Services to change a compliance report related to financial transactions with sanctioned countries including Iran and Sudan through March 2007, according to a settlement with Benjamin Lawsky, superintendent of New York's financial services department.

"When bank executives pressure a consultant to whitewash a supposedly 'objective' report to regulators -- and the consultant goes along with it -- that can strike at the very heart of our system of prudential oversight," Lawsky said in a statement announcing the settlement.

PWC was also banned for two years from consulting work with companies regulated by Lawsky and must implement changes to address conflicts of interest in consulting.

A spokeswoman for PWC could not be reached for comment. Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ in 2013 agreed to pay $250 million for sanctions law violations. -- Bloomberg News

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