US judge suspends Chinese units of 'Big Four' auditors
WASHINGTON (AFP) - A US judge has ordered Chinese units of the "Big Four" global accounting firms to be suspended from auditing US-traded companies for six months, saying they had "willfully violated" US laws.
The 112-page ruling by US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) administrative law judge Cameron Elliot could temporarily leave more than 100 Chinese companies quoted on US markets without an auditor and unable to trade.
The auditors and a fifth China-based accounting firm fell foul of the law by refusing to turn over documents about some of their clients to the commission, which wanted help in a fraud probe, Elliot ruled.
The ruling does not take effect immediately and the companies plan to launch an appeal with the SEC.