Italy's competition authority yesterday fine five leading accountancy firms a total of L4.5 bn (£1.4m for anti-competitive practices between 1991 and 1998. The competition authority said it was fining Ernst &Young, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte Touche Tomatsu, KPMG and Arthur Andersen for "consistently distorting market competition in Italian accountancy services", in particular by standardising prices and co-ordinated to win clients. PwC was formed by the merger of Price Waterhouse and Coopers & Lybrand in 1998.
The companies have all admitted the charges and provided information
which helped the Italian competition watchdog in its inquiry. The antitrust
body said that it had taken this into account when imposing the fines.