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U.S. SEC charges China affiliates of top accounting firms

Dec 04 2012 Aruna Viswanatha, Reuters

U.S. regulators have charged the Chinese arms of the world's five top accounting firms with securities violations, raising tensions in a regulatory standoff which experts say could kill off U.S. listings for Chinese firms if not resolved. Monday's move indicated China was refusing to yield in talks with the United States over access to Chinese audit papers, trying to keep foreign regulators off what it sees as its turf. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) wants the firms to supply documents relating to audits of U.S.-listed companies suspected of possible wrongdoing, but the audit firms say they are prevented from doing so by Chinese state secrecy laws. "I think China has determined that it does not want to cooperate in this way. It believes this is an impingement on China's national sovereignty, and it's just too far for them to go," said Paul Gillis, a professor at Peking University and author of the China Accounting Blog "They want the U.S. regulators

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