NEW YORK (Reuters) – PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP agreed to pay $21.5 million to settle lawsuits by Anicom Inc. shareholders and creditors accusing the firm of recklessness in certifying Anicom's books, the Wall Street Journal reported in its online edition on Tuesday.
The plaintiffs in the suit alleged that PricewaterhouseCoopers acted recklessly by certifying the company's financial statements during the years leading up to its January 2001 bankruptcy-court filing, the Journal said.
Citing company spokesman Steven Silber, the paper reported the accounting firm decided to settle suit to avoid the costs and uncertainties associated with protracted litigation.
The Journal quoted Silber as saying: “We believe the work we performed for Anicom complied fully with applicable auditing standards and federal securities laws.”
Silber was not immediately available to Reuters for comment.
The payment is among the larger settlements to date over an alleged audit failure by PricewaterhouseCoopers, which currently is under regulatory scrutiny related to its prior audits for Tyco International.