(June 17, 2020 / JNS) The United Kingdom has launched an investigation into the international accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), headquartered in London, for auditing two Palestinian NGOs alleged to have links to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
According to the watchdog group UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI), two Palestinian NGOs audited by PwC have links to PFLP, a designated terrorist group, and PwC breached the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises on responsible business conduct by ignoring these links in its audits.
In a statement, the British government said that the issues raised by the UKLFI “merit further examination,” and that the “initial assessment decision is made based on the information supplied by the parties.”
The UKLFI said that it had provided PwC with information concerning the two organizations—the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) and Defence for Children International-Palestine (DCI-P)—to show that both had links to the PFLP when the PwC audited their accounts from 2014 to 2018.
Two former finance directors of UAWC—Abdul Razaq Farraj and Samer Arbid—were arrested in Israel in late 2019 and have now been put on trial for a bomb attack on the Schnerb family in August 2019, which killed 17-year-old Rina Schnerb, and injured her father, who is a rabbi, and brother.
“We have evidence that donors to UAWC and DCI-P relied on the fact that they were audited by PwC, a ‘big four’ accountancy firm, and this provided them with confidence that their money was being used for legitimate objectives and not to facilitate terrorism,” said Caroline Turner, director of UKLFI. “We believe that UAWC and DCI-P benefited from PwC conferring legitimacy on their international fundraising activities.”
The Netherlands has donated about $26 million to UAWC in the past six years, and the European Union has also been a major donor to UAWC.
Turner said that “by failing to mention the many links between these NGOs and a terrorist organization, PwC may have contributed to violations of the human, economic and civil rights of terror victims, diverting support from the Palestinian citizens who should be benefiting from the aid of donors, and misleading taxpaying citizens of the donor nations.”
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