Three ex-partners from PwC’s Cyprus office have left the Big Four accountancy firm to set up a new rival practice in order to continue working with Russian clients.
The launch of KiteServe comes after the three ex-PwC partners took early retirement from the Big Four firm in June, after its sanctions policy blocked them from working with Russian clients, the Financial Times first reported.
PwC’s sanctions policy saw the Big Four firm go further than required, in stating it would comply with all sanctions imposed on Russian entities and individuals by any country in the world, even if not legally required to do so.
“Any sanction on Russian entities or individuals that is passed anywhere in the world will be applied everywhere in the world,” PwC said in March following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
KiteServe will comply with EU, US, and UK sanctions, but unlike PwC will not voluntarily comply with sanctions imposed by countries such as Canada or Australia.
The boutique firm will also continue providing services to individuals and entities that have been sanctioned by EU, US, and UK authorities, if exemptions legally allow them to do so.
KiteServe is currently continuing to work out of PwC’s Nicosia and Limassol offices, according to information listed on the accountancy firm’s website.
A PwC spokesperson told City A.M. the new firm will work in a completely separate space from the rest of PwC’s Cyprus team.
The PwC spokesperson said KiteServe is currently subletting the space, while it sorts out the lease for a new space to transfer to.
Cyprus has become a haven for Russian expats since the start of the war in Ukraine, due to the longstanding links between the two countries and Cyprus’ relative openness to Russian immigrants.
The country has also faced criticism over its “Golden Visa” scheme, that lets non-EU citizens obtain permanent residency by investing €300,000 (£262,000) in the country.
As the EU’s most eastern member state, Cyprus’ “Golden Visa” scheme has been touted as a key to visa free travel in Europe and a route to obtaining EU citizenship.
On its website, KiteServe says it will offer a “wide range of bespoke professional services” to an array of clients including multinational corporations, financial institutions, and high net worth individuals (HNWIs), the firm says on its website.
KiteServe has been approached by City A.M. for comment.