Environmental activist Jonathan Moylan has avoided jail over a hoax press release that wiped $300 million from the value of Whitehaven Coal before it was revealed as a fake.
Moylan was given a 20-month suspended prison sentence in the NSW Supreme Court this afternoon, having pleaded guilty to disseminating false or misleading information.
Justice David Davies gave Moylan a 15% discount on his sentence for an early guilty plea and he was released on a $1000 bond.
Moylan distributed the fake release, which supposedly came from the ANZ bank, in January 2013. It said the bank was withdrawing $1.2 billion in funding from a Whitehaven Coal mine project and a number of media outlets published it.
The hoax forced a trading halt in Whitehaven Coal. Justice Davies did not accept Moylan’s argument that the media was to blame for the share price plunge saying he manipulated the market.
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