ANZ faces criminal cartel charges
ANZ is facing criminal charges by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions over alleged cartel conduct related to a $2.5 billion share placement in 2015.
The bank said the proceedings relate to an alleged arrangement or understanding between the joint lead managers of the institutional placement of 80.8 million shares, which helped lift capital reserves to meet new regulatory requirements. The charges will be laid following an investigation by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
"The charges will involve alleged cartel arrangements relating to trading in ANZ shares following an ANZ institutional share placement in August 2015," Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims said on Friday.
"It will be alleged that ANZ and the individuals were knowingly concerned in some or all of the conduct."
ANZ is co-operating with ASIC as the financial regulator investigates whether ANZ should have told the market that the joint lead managers took up 25.5 million shares of the placement.
The ACCC said it expects charges against the bank, ANZ treasurer Rick Moscati, two other companies, and other individuals.
ANZ said it will defend itself and Mr Moscati against any criminal charges. "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.