Regulators on Monday charged the Chinese affiliates of five top accounting firms with violations of U.S. securities laws, alleging that they refused to produce audit documents in connection with accounting fraud investigations into Chinese companies.

The Securities and Exchange Commission began proceedings against the Chinese units of Deloitte & Touche, Ernst & Young, KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers and BDO. The companies violated laws that require foreign public accounting firms to provide the SEC with audit work papers involving any company trading on U.S. markets, the SEC said.

An administrative law judge will schedule a hearing to determine potential sanctions against the firms, the SEC said.

(Reporting By Aruna Viswanatha)