Australia’s banking industry faces an unprecedented criminal prosecution as Australia & New Zealand Banking Group and two of its underwriters, Deutsche Bank and Citigroup, brace for cartel charges over a $1.9bn share sale.
Bloomberg News reports that the case follows probes by both Australia’s securities regulator and competition watchdog into ANZ Bank’s institutional placement of 80.8 million shares in August 2015. Investigators have focused on why the Melbourne-based lender didn’t disclose that underwriters had to soak up 25.5 million shares worth A$789.2 million and how they subsequently sold them onto the market.
“The charges will involve alleged cartel arrangements relating to trading in ANZ shares” after the placement, Rod Sims, chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, said in a statement Friday. ANZ Bank’s Group Treasurer Rick Moscati is also likely to be charged, he said.
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