Criminal cartel charges laid against ANZ, Citigroup and Deutsche Bank

UPDATE: / June 6: Citigroup, Deutsche Bank and ANZ have been charged with criminal cartel offences following an investigation by Australian watchdog the ACCC.

Criminal charges have also been laid against several senior executives: John McLean, Itay Tuchman and Stephen Roberts of Citigroup; Michael Ormaechea and Michael Richardson formerly of Deutsche Bank; and Rick Moscati of ANZ.  

See more details on the charges in NBR's initial report below.

Separately, an agreement has been reached between a second Australian regulator, Austrac and CBA (parent of ASB) for a record $A700 million penalty to resolve Federal Court proceedings relating to serious breaches of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (AML/CTF) laws.

EARLIER / June 1: ANZ faces criminal cartel charges
ANZ Banking Group says it will defend legal action planned by Australia's Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions over alleged criminal cartel conduct relating to a $A2.5 billion share placement in 2015.

The expected charges follow an investigation by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and will include legal proceedings against ANZ Group treasurer Rick Moscati, two other companies and a number of other individuals. 

“It will be alleged that ANZ and the individuals were knowingly concerned in some or all of the conduct,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims said in a statement.

ANZ said ASIC is investigating whether its announcement of August 7, 2015, which announced the placement had been completed, should have stated the joint lead managers took up approximately 25.5 million shares of the placement, representing approximately 0.91% of total shares on issue at that time.

Citigroup, Deutsche Bank and JP Morgan were the three investment banks who worked on the capital raising in August 2015, the AFR reports.

The ACCC has now confirmed Deutsche Bank AG as one of the two other companies against which charges are expected to be laid. The other is Citigroup.

"The proceedings relate to an arrangement or understanding allegedly made between the joint lead managers in relation to the supply of ANZ shares," ANZ said.

ANZ chief risk officer Kevin Corbally said: "We believe ANZ acted in accordance with the law in relation to the placement and on that basis the bank intends to defend both the company and our employee."

ANZ said it would not provide further comment.

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