BEIJING Jan 24 China's securities regulator
chided its U.S. counterpart on Friday over the latest ruling in
a long-running and thorny dispute over access to documents that
has snagged the world's top four accounting firms.
At a regular news briefing, China Securities Regulatory
Commission (CSRC) spokesman Deng Ge expressed "deep regret" over
a ruling that the Chinese units of the four companies should be
suspended from auditing U.S.-listed companies for six months.
"The SEC would bear all the responsibility for the
consequences of its action," Deng said.
In a ruling earlier this week, SEC Administrative Law Judge
Cameron Elliot censured the Chinese affiliates of KPMG
, Deloitte & Touche, PricewaterhouseCoopers
and Ernst and Young, for failing to give U.S.
regulators audit documents of certain Chinese companies under
investigation for accounting fraud.
The SEC for years has been trying to get its hands on the
documents, saying it needs them for investigations into a rash
of accounting scandals that have plagued many Chinese companies
listed in the United States.
The firms have said that handing over the documents could
lay them open to criminal prosecution in China for breaching
that country's secrecy laws.
U.S. officials have tried to address the dispute both
through diplomatic channels and by threatening the firms with
The four companies have said they will appeal the ruling,
and they have the backing of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which
said on Thursday it plans to lobby U.S. officials to reach a
diplomatic deal with China.
The judge's ruling is not expected to be disruptive to
U.S.-listed Chinese companies relying on these firms to review
their 2013 books as it will not go into immediate effect. The
appeal process may last years.