David Collard’s previous arrest by NYPD in 2013

The failed Australian businessman and former confidant of the Deputy Prime Minister has a record of getting arrest. And getting off.

Sean Johnson27 February 2024

Collard faced court in New York last week on assault charges. The judge sentenced Collard to an anger management course and will dismiss the charges in three months as long as he doesn't get arrested again.

David Collard’s court appearance last week on assault charges was not the first time he’s been in the dock, with former close associates in Australia and colleagues at PwC’s New York office telling Open Politics that he was arrested and charged in early 2013 over an altercation in Manhattan.

We've confirmed with several sources that prior to Collard's scheduled trial in 2013 he returned to Australia for a short visit, and when he tried to fly back to New York with his then girlfriend Ali was denied entry by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at Los Angeles airport.

Ali, whom Collard had kept in the dark about the arrest, continued on alone to New York while immigration officials put him on the first flight back to Australia.   

Stuck in Melbourne with no way to return to his job in New York, where he’d worked since 2011, Collard was finally forced to fess up to PwC US.

But rather than disciplining him for breaching PwC policy, which requires that employees disclose little things like criminal allegations, the firm provided him with high-powered legal support that saw the charges dropped and allowed him to re-enter the US about a month later.

A former PwC US manager who worked with Collard told Open Politics they were surprised by PwC's actions, adding that the firm may've been trying to save face and avoid a 'PwC employee' appearing in the media on criminal charges.

The manager resigned a few years later on the back of PwC's response to a similar incident with another team member.

Onwards and upwards, and then a great fall

The dropping of the case meant the arrest record and charges was sealed from public access. 

With Collard’s legal troubles and reputational risks safely behind him, PwC US senior management bizarrely promoted him in 2017 to partner in the firm’s banking and capital markets practice.

Many colleagues and partners in the New York office strongly opposed Collard’s promotion and were completely baffled how he ever made partner.   

Less than two years later the music stopped for Collard when PwC forced him out of the firm after several younger colleagues complained about his conduct towards them, though he told the Financial Review last year that he “ditched” PwC after realising an Australian would never become global head of the firm.  

A senior partner in PwC’s management team in New York recently told one of his colleagues that among his biggest regrets in life was not getting rid of Collard earlier. 

We sought comment from Collard and PwC US. He did not directly respond to our questions, saying only that he had a “clean criminal record”.

A spokesperson at PwC US, Megan DiSciullo, declined to comment.

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