Monday, June 1, 2009

Making examples of Satyam's auditors

It looks like India's judicial system is a bit different than what we're used to here in the U.S. Two PricewaterhouseCoopers partners who worked on the Satyam audit have been in prison for four months while awaiting trial. The partners claim they had no idea of the fraud and that it was carefully concealed with fictitious documents. Apparently, the prison conditions are not exactly country club conditions either.

A New York Times article explains the partners' situation as follows:
The prison, opened in the 1800s, is surrounded by high watchtowers and a concrete wall. Behind its hulking, metal-studded front door live more than 900 men, held for crimes like pick-pocketing and murder. Then there are the two accountants....

The auditors, who are technically in “judicial custody,” are luckier than most prisoners here. Their wives can bring them food from outside during their twice-weekly visits. But they receive few other privileges. They sleep on the floor in a cell with other inmates, in temperatures that often exceed 100 degrees...

Accounting experts say that while authorities may be treating the PricewaterhouseCoopers partners particularly harshly, making an example of them may prevent more serious repercussions for the country’s economy and even the audit firm itself.

I wonder what they do when they catch terrorists in India...

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