US audit watchdog says may take action against Chinese auditors

WASHINGTON Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:12pm EST

WASHINGTON Feb 13 (Reuters) - The head of the U.S. audit watchdog said on Wednesday his organization may need to resort to enforcement actions against auditors based in China if they fail to hand over documents to U.S. regulators.

Jim Doty, head of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, told the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that enforcement "will be an increasing priority" if the SEC and PCAOB cannot end an impasse with Chinese regulators over access to audit work.

The SEC and PCAOB have both been seeking audit documents amid a rash of accounting scandals at Chinese companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges. The SEC's enforcement lawyers have filed civil lawsuits in an effort to force the China-based auditors to hand over the files. Meanwhile, the PCAOB is involved in talks with China to strike an arrangement for a cross-border inspections program.