ANNOUNCEMENT 19 Apr 2021
On 19 April 2021, the Russian government changed national audit rules, resulting in a local sourcing requirement for audit services to examine certain sensitive data of local companies.
NUMBER OF INTERVENTIONS
Resolution of the Russian government N622 dated 19 April 2021, http://ips.pravo.gov.ru:8080/default.aspx?pn=0001202104210010
Alternative link: http://publication.pravo.gov.ru/Document/View/0001202104210010
On 19 April 2021, the Russian government announced changes to the national audit legislation. The changes result in a prohibition for foreign-controlled audit firms to examine "sanctions-sensitive" financial information of local companies. If the disclosure of, for example, ownership information to a foreign-controlled audit entity bears the risk of Western sanctions, the local company is instructed to hire a local auditor instead. In the GTA classification, this is a local sourcing requirement of audit services.
The move was widely seen as a "ban on foreign auditors." Initially, the lawyers surveyed by the Russian business daily RBK noted that the new rules shouldn't lead to business disruption of foreign audit firms from the Big Four, as the latter are all Russia-incorporated and Russian-owned legal entities working under franchise. The follow-up explanations by the Russian finance ministry, however, signalled that the regulator would also consider corporate communication practices in addition to formal ownership.
The resolution entered into force on 29 April 2021.
Starting 2018, the Russian government allowed local companies to classify financial information (ownership, partners, shareholders, counterparties) to avoid the risk of Western sanctions. Several Russian banks and industrial companies, including auto-maker GAZ and Promsvyazbank, have since discontinued disclosure of sanctions-sensitive information.