The ANZ bank is facing criminal cartel charges over trading in its shares

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  • A string of criminal charges are expected over an equity raising by the ANZ bank.
  • Consumer watchdog the ACCC says charges involve alleged cartel arrangements relating to trading in ANZ shares following an institutional share placement in August 2015.
  • ANZ and Deutsche Bank say they will defend any charges.

The ANZ Bank, its treasurer, two other companies and Deutsche Bank, face criminal charges relating to alleged cartel conduct during an equity placement.

The bank says the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions advised ANZ it intends to start proceedings for being knowingly concerned in alleged cartel conduct by the joint lead managers of ANZ’s underwritten Institutional Equity Placement of 80.8 million shares in August 2015.

The consumer watchdog, the ACCC, says criminal cartel charges are expected to be laid against the bank, ANZ group treasurer Rick Moscati, two other companies and a number of other individuals.

The charges follow 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,” says ACCC chairman Rod Sims.

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

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 is also co-operating with an investigation by corporate watchdog Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

ASIC is investigating whether ANZ’s announcement of August 7, 2015, should have stated the joint lead managers took up approximately 25.5 million shares of the placement.

This represented approximately 0.91% of total shares on issue at that time.

Deutsche Bank, whose shares are approaching a record low of less than $US10 after US regulators added it to a troubled lenders list, is expecting to be also charged in relation to the equity issue.

Deutsche, which acted as joint underwriter with Citigroup and JP Morgan, says it will vigorously defend any charges.

“We take conduct matters extremely seriously and have cooperated fully with the ACCC during the investigation process,” a spokesman for Deutsche Bank said.

“Financial markets are highly regulated under the Corporations Act and ASIC market integrity rules. The bank believes it and its staff acted responsibly and in a manner consistent with those rules.”

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