Audit regulators in the European Union won EU approval to swap information with their U.S. counterparts in a step that makes it easier for watchdogs to probe potential malpractice.

The U.S. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission have internal secrecy and confidentiality rules that are sufficiently robust to allow information sharing, the European Commission said in a statement published in the EU’s Official Journal.

The decision means that EU regulators can share documents seized during raids on audit firms, and also take part in joint investigations, according to the statement, dated June 11.

Under EU rules dating from 2006, audit regulators can only share such data with a counterpart based outside the bloc if the commission has ruled that the overseas supervisor meets minimum conduct standards. The commission decision is valid from Aug. 1, 2013, to July 31, 2016.

–Editors: Peter Chapman, Jones Hayden