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NEW YORKPricewaterhouseCoopers L.L.P. should be barred as American International Group Inc.'s outside auditor due to irreconcilable conflicts of interest, a petition by C.V. Starr & Co. Inc. contends.
The petition, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission earlier this month, represents the latest move in a bitter feud between former affiliates AIG and Starr. Starr is led by former AIG Chairman and Chief Executive Maurice R. Greenberg.
Starrwhich, despite its severed relationship with the insurer, remains an AIG shareholderalleges in its petition that AIG's longtime independent auditor should be forced to resign because an AIG special litigation committee earlier this year authorized shareholders to pursue a derivative action against PwC in Delaware Chancery Court.
"AIG's decision to have the derivative plaintiffs prosecute the claims against PwC on behalf of AIG instead of having AIG's own counsel prosecute the claims cannot eliminate the conflict that exists," the Starr petition says.
Starr asks the SEC to call formal proceedings to determine PwC's independence.
"We have full confidence in the independence of PricewaterhouseCoopers. We believe this petition is completely without merit," a spokesman for New York-based AIG said. "We did not authorize any claims against PwC."
A spokeswoman for New York-based PwC said in a statement: "The firm is confident that it remains independent of AIG. Nothing in Mr. Greenberg's 'petition' of two weeks ago causes us to change that view."
A representative of Starr, also of New York, declined to comment.