Investment banks deny Australia cartel charges

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Citigroup, Deutsche Bank and ANZ have all refuted criminal cartel charges laid out by Australia’s competition regulator this morning.

The allegations, which if true could result in significant fines and potential prison terms, relate to an AU$2.3bn (£7bn) ANZ institutional share placement from back in 2015.

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Criminal charges have further been put forward against a number of senior executives, most notably ANZ treasurer Rick Moscati and Citigroup’s John McLean and Itay Tuchman.

According to the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC), former executives, including Citigroup’s Stephen Roberts and Deutsche Bank’s Michael Ormaechea and Michael Richardson, have also been charged.

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The news threatens to further undermine the credibility of Australian lenders, following a previous scandal surrounding Commonwealth Bank in which there was an alleged rigging on the bank bill swap rate earlier this year.

ACCC chairman Rod Sims said: “These serious charges are the result of an ACCC investigation that has been running for more than two years.”

He added: "Charges have now been laid by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions and the matter will be determined by the court."

All three banks deny the allegations and said they would vigorously defend both themselves and their employees.

The charges relating to the case focus on ANZ’s institutional placement in August 2015, which was underwritten by Citiygroup, Deutsche Bank and JP Morgan Chase.

JPMorgan Chase has not been charged.

Citigroup said: "This is a highly technical area and if the ACCC believes there are matters to address, these should be clarified by law or regulation or consultation."

The matter is listed before the Downing Centre Local Court in Sydney on 3 July.

Full story: Investment banks deny Australia cartel charges: City A.M.

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