Romney Tax Returns Apparently Safe; Extorters’ Unauthorized Access Claims Denied
No evidence has been found to support the claim that presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s tax returns in its custody have been accessed by unauthorized individuals, according to auditing firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers.
“At this time there is no evidence that our systems have been compromised or that there was any unauthorized access to the data in question,” according to a statement by Maggie O’Donovan-Bolton, PWC’s tax public relations director, in New York for cio.com
The investigation conducted with FBI support was intended to shed light on an extortion case that started with a Pastebin post in which an unknown group announced it had accessed servers belonging to the PWC’s Franklin, Tennessee offices where some of Romney’s documents were stored. The group threatened to disclose Romney’s tax returns from prior to 2010 unless a US $1 million ransom is paid.
The ransom was requested in BitCoin digital currency, which would enable the group to avoid being tracked down.
“It does not matter if small amounts or one large amount is transferred, as long as the final value of the BitCoins is equal to $1,000,000 USD at the time when it is finished,” reads the group’s set of instructions posted on Pastebin. “The keys to unlock the data will be purged and what ever is inside the documents will remain a secret forever.”
Romney has faced criticism for his refusal to make these documents public, a decision which seems to fuel suspicions as to the presidential candidate’s alleged use of legal shortcuts to cut his tax rate.