ACCC to lay criminal cartel charges against ANZ

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said it expected criminal cartel charges to be laid by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) against ANZ, ANZ group treasurer Rick Moscati, two other companies, and several other individuals.

These charges would be laid following an investigation by the ACCC.

“The charges will involve alleged cartel arrangements relating to trading in ANZ shares following an ANZ institutional share placement in August 2015,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims said.

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“It will be alleged that ANZ and the individuals were knowingly concerned in some or all of the conduct.”

The ACCC said it would not make any further comment until charges are laid.

Earlier on Friday, ANZ said it had been notified by the CDPP about its intentions to commence proceedings against the bank relating to an arrangement allegedly made between in the joint lead managers of an institutional placement of around 80.8 million shares in August 2015.

“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 chief risk officer Kevin Corbally said.

ANZ said it was also cooperating with an investigation by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) in relation to the placement.

ASIC was investigating whether an announcement by ANZ on 7 August 2015 should have stated that the joint lead managers took up approximately 25.5 million shares of the placement, representing around 0.91 per cent of the total shares on issue at the time.

ANZ said it would not be providing further comment at this time.

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