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The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) late on Wednesday barred Price Waterhouse from auditing listed companies in the country for two years, after a probe into a nearly decade-old accounting fraud case in a software services company that became India's biggest corporate scandal.
Ramalinga Raju, founder and former chairman of the erstwhile software services exporter Satyam Computer Services, stunned Indian markets and investors in January 2009, when he admitted that the firm had overstated earnings and assets for several years, in a fraud of more than $1 billion sometimes referred to as "India's Enron".
Price Waterhouse was Satyam's auditor during the period in which the fraud was perpetrated.
In its order, the Sebi, on Wednesday said any entities or firms practicing as chartered accountants in India under the brand and banner of PW, shall not directly or indirectly issue any certificate of audit of listed companies, or their intermediaries that are registered with the regulator for a period of two years.
"The network structure of operations adopted by the international accounting firm should not be used as a shield to avoid legal implications arising out of the certifications issued under the brand name of the network," Sebi said in a 108-page order.
Satyam and PricewaterhouseCoopers agreed in 2011 to pay a combined $17.5 million to settle U. S. probes into the accounting fraud.
Here's all you need to know about the Satyam scandal:
January 7, 2009: Ramalinga Raju resigns as chairman of Satyam Computer Services Ltd., and confesses that the company's account books and profits were inflated over many years.
January 9, 2009: Police arrest Ramalinga Raju, his brother and company director Rama Raju, Centre disbands Satyam board; Sensex, Nifty remove Satyam.
January 10, 2009: Satyam's CFO Srinivas Vadlamani arrested.
January 11, 2009: Centre appoints Deepak Parekh, Kiran Karnik and C. Achuthan to the Satyam board.
February 16, 2009: CBI takes over investigation, tells the court that Satyam caused loss to the investors to the tune of Rs.14,162 crore.
March 6, 2009: SEBI gives nod for bidding process to select investor in Satyam.
April 7, 2009: CBI files first chargesheet, charging Raju and others with criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery, falsification of accounts and disappearance of evidence.
April 22, 2009: Tech Mahindra acquires Satyam in open auction.
June 2009: Tech Mahindra unveils Mahindra Satyam, the new brand identity for Satyam.
November 24, 2009: CBI files second chargesheet, highlighting more financial transactions by Raju and his associates.
January 7, 2010: Third chargesheet filed.
January 15, 2010: Andhra Pradesh High Court constitutes special court.
August 18, 2010: Andhra Pradesh High Court grants bail to the accused.
October 26, 2010: Supreme Court rejects bail and directs the accused to surrender by November 10.
November 2, 2010: Trial begins in special court.
November 4, 2011: Supreme Court grants bail to Raju and others as the trial court failed to complete hearing within the timeframe set by it.
October 28, 2013: Enforcement Directorate files criminal complaint against 47 people and 166 corporate entities headed by Ramalinga Raju.
December 8, 2014: An economic offences court sentences Ramalinga Raju and three others to six months imprisonment in six of the seven cases filed by the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO).
December 23, 2014: Special court postpones verdict citing voluminous documents.
March 9, 2015: Court defers verdict till April 9.
April 9, 2015: Ramalinga Raju and nine others found guilty, sentenced to seven years imprisonment.