ASIC to take second bite of the pie in ANZ cartel scandal

ASIC to take second bite of the pie in ANZ cartel scandal

Back in June, ANZ, Citigroup, and Deutsche Bank got caught up in a widely publicised scandal relating to alleged criminal cartel charges.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission laid charges against the banks and several senior personnel from each of the financial institutions.

Today, ASIC has once again gone after ANZ for the same set of circumstances, this time as a civil penalty charge.

The watchdog has commenced civil proceedings against ANZ for an alleged continuous disclosure breach in relation to a $2.5 billion institutional share placement undertaken by ANZ in August 2015.

ASIC is seeking a declaration that ANZ breached its continuous disclosure obligations and a pecuniary penalty order.

The proceedings will be held in the Federal Court of Melbourne, but no date has yet been set.

Shares in ANZ were up by 0.32 per cent to $28.15 per share at market close today.

BACKGROUND

In June 2018, ASIC confirmed that charges had been laid against ANZ, Citigroup and Deutsche Bank.

Following an investigation into alleged cartel conduct by the banks relating to an ANZ institutional share placement in August 2015, the watchdog hit the banks and  senior executives with criminal charges.

In addition to Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, and ANZ as companies, criminal charges have also been laid against several senior personnel: John McLean, Itay Tuchman and Stephen Roberts of Citigroup; Michael Ormaechea and Michael Richardson formerly of Deutsche Bank; and Rick Moscati of ANZ.

The charges involved alleged cartel arrangements relating to trading in ANZ shares held by Deutsche Bank and Citigroup.

ANZ and each of the individuals are alleged to have been knowingly concerned in some or all of the alleged conduct.

The scandal has already claimed the scalp of former JP Morgan CEO Robert Priestly from the board of the ASX. The move came less than two weeks after ASX expressed confidence in Priestley who was head of the investment giant's Australian arm when it underwrote a $2.5 billion capital raising in 2015 for ANZ that is the subject of the cartel allegations brought by the ACCC.

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