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PricewaterhousCoopers vows to contest lawsuit over audit

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) released a statement on 16 April defending itself against a lawsuit initiated by Hermitage Capital Management Ltd. alleging that PwC deliberately falsified its 2000-2001 audit of Gazprom, AFP reported. AFP reported PwC as saying in the statement that it will take Hermitage Capital to court over the "completely unfounded" allegations, and that "Our work met all the applicable legal and professional standards and we shall be defending the claims vigorously." Hermitage Capital runs the Hermitage Fund dedicated to investments in Russia and is a member of the London-based HSBC Group. "The Hermitage Fund press material misrepresents the nature of our work and our findings and we will seek redress in the court," the PwC statement read. On 16 April, Hermitage Capital Chief Executive William Browder was quoted as saying, "This is Russia's Enron" (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 16 April 2002).

(RFE/RL 15.iv.02)

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