PwC partner accused of leaking client information in £ 63million lawsuit leaves firm

A senior PwC partner who was accused in a £ 63million lawsuit of leaking sensitive client information has left Big Four.

Ian Green left the company on June 30, according to documents from Companies House. Green was appointed head of the company for the north of England in August 2019, but stepped down in the summer of 2020. He was previously head of the disaster recovery practice of the ‘business.

Watchstone, an Aquis Exchange-listed insurance and tech group formerly known as Quindell, accused Green of leaking his information to a Greenhill & Co banker in 2015. The banker was advising the law firm Slater & Gordon, who was in talks to acquire the firm’s professional services arm.

In a market update on Aug. 16, Watchstone said, “We are confident that we have a very strong case and are determined to take the claim to court, should it prove necessary.”

A spokesperson for PwC said Green’s retirement has been “planned for some time and is unrelated to demand.”

Financial news called several phone numbers listed for Green on archived versions of PwC’s website and sought to contact him via email, but Green could not be reached for comment.

READ Senior PwC executive accused of leaking customer information in £ 63million Quindell case

Watchstone said the first hearings in the case would take place next month, but said it did not expect a full trial until 2023.

A spokesperson for PwC said: “We deny these allegations and vigorously defend this assertion. It would be inappropriate to comment further on an ongoing legal case. “

In its defense to the claim, filed in the High Court on October 16, 2020, PwC denied that Green disclosed any information about the company.

“It is denied that PwC through Mr. Ian Green (or otherwise) disclosed confidential information regarding Quindell,” the defense said.

PwC admitted that Green met Gareth Davies, Greenhill & Co’s investment banker, on January 15, 2015 at the PwC offices, but said it was “a short, informal coffee between people. who knew each other. [as] business relations ”.

READ KPMG faces legal action over botched Quindell audit

The meeting was first revealed in a previous court case, in which Slater & Gordon accused Quindell of misrepresenting the value of its professional services division. S&G bought the unit for £ 637million in 2015. This case was settled out of court in 2019.

During this matter, an email from Davies appeared detailing the meeting with an acquaintance described as “responsible for restructuring PwC”.

PwC was appointed in 2014 to review Quindell’s finances and recommend any changes to its accounting practices. Quindell paid PwC more than £ 5million in fees in 2014 and 2015.

According to the details of Watchstone’s request, Davies told his colleagues that “if we find [Quindell] are in a real corner we can take them to the cleaner ”.

In an email to colleagues at Greenhill after the meeting, Davies said Green told him that Quindell would be strapped for cash in mid-2015 and that Green would “quietly” review the company’s finances in the mid-2015. named after Davies and Slater & Gordon.

READ Investors worry as auditors turn their backs on high-risk work

In its defense document, PwC denied that Green said Quindell would run out of cash in mid-2015.

The company also stated that the information in Davies’ email “(to the extent that it was information, as opposed to speculation or opinion, and to the extent that it was accurate) were already in the public domain and / or already known to Greenhill “.

Watchstone is separately suing its former auditor KPMG for its work on Quindell’s 2013 accounts, which were restated the following year.

KPMG was fined £ 4.5million by the Financial Reporting Council in 2018 for its 2013 audit of Quindell.

“The preliminary work for a claim against [KPMG] is advanced and, if not resolved, we expect to file the claim before the end of 2021, ”Watchstone told the market on Aug. 16.

A spokesperson for KPMG declined to comment.

To contact the author of this story with comments or news, email James Booth

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