By Lewis Jackson
SYDNEY (Reuters) - HESTA, one of Australia's largest pension funds, on Wednesday froze work with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Australia, the latest fund to blacklist the firm amid a national scandal over its misuse of confidential government tax plans.
The A$72 billion ($48 billion) fund is "very concerned" and will "restrict consideration of PwC for any new or additional service provision", according to a statement on Wednesday. The fund is audited by PwC.
PwC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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The move comes days after Australia's largest and second-largest pension funds froze work with the firm and raises the risk PwC may lose private sector clients just as a growing list of government agencies pause or review work with the firm.
PwC has come under fire after a former tax partner who was advising the government on laws to prevent corporate tax avoidance shared confidential drafts with colleagues that were used to pitch U.S. technology companies, among others, for work.
Tax officials told a senate inquiry last week they had foiled several attempts by multinational firms to subvert tax avoidance laws as a result of the leak.
PwC on Monday named at least 67 current and former staff associated with the breach in an unpublished letter to lawmakers.
($1 = 1.4984 Australian dollars)