A former PwC partner swept up in the tax scandal engulfing the big four consulting firm has resigned from the Board of Taxation, a highly influential government body.
Anthony Klein, who was one of the partners receiving emails with confidential information about the government’s tax reform plans before his retirement from PwC in 2021, was appointed to the Board of Taxation in October that year for a three-year term.
He sat alongside the head of the Australian Tax Office, Chris Jordan, and the treasury secretary, Steven Kennedy.
“Mr Klein has resigned from the Board of Taxation,” a Treasury spokesman, who declined to comment further, said.
Contacted by this masthead, Klein confirmed his resignation.
“Whilst I have not acted inappropriately in any way or at any time and have never used or disseminated confidential information, I was informed by PwC in a late-night email on Friday 2 June that I had been one of many people who had been the recipient of an email inappropriately disclosing information,” Klein explained in an email this morning.
He said he was both surprised and disappointed to receive this news.
“I wrote to the Board of Taxation on June 23 to advise them of my decision to resign,” he said.
“Given this, and the extremely serious nature of what has been alleged to have taken place by others at PwC, I felt it was in the best interests of the Board that I resign to maintain both the Board’s and my own integrity and the trust of the Australian people in the Board’s important work.”
An advisory body, the Board of Taxation helps Treasury and the Tax Office improve the design of taxation laws and their operation.
The board is due to meet this Friday in Adelaide, its first meeting since May 19.
In the announcement of Klein’s appointment in October 2021, the Board of Taxation chairman Rosheen Garnon said: “Anthony has experience in corporate and international tax. Mr Klein has more than two decades of experience working in the tax advisory space, most of which has been spent at big four accounting and advisory firm PwC.”
Last month, PwC handed a Senate inquiry into consulting – which had been triggered by the tax scandal – a list of 63 current or former partners and staff who received at least one email containing confidential information about government plans to combat corporate tax avoidance.
These names have not been made public by the Senate inquiry following advice by the Senate clerk, due to a criminal investigation being conducted by the Australian Federal Police.
PwC publicly named a further four partners who received the confidential information. This included Peter Collins, who signed a confidentiality agreement with Treasury about its planned crackdown on corporate tax avoidance before sharing it with staff at PwC to attract new clients.
The Senate inquiry into the scandal heard on Monday how top-earning partners at PwC operated with impunity within the firm in the decade leading up to the first breach of confidentiality with Treasury.
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Source: Thanks smh.com