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Banks up for trial on criminal cartel charges

Three banks and six senior banking executives have been committed to the Federal Court of Australia for trial on criminal cartel charges.

ANZ, Citigroup Global Markets Australia Pty Ltd, Deutsche Bank AG, as well as the executives, John McLean, Rick Moscati, Michael Ormaechea, Michael Richardson, Stephen Roberts and Itay Tuchman, were committed from the NSW Local Court in Sydney today following committal proceedings.

The banks and executives were charged in June 2018 following an investigation by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

The charges involve alleged cartel arrangements in 2015 relating to trading in ANZ shares held by Deutsche Bank and Citigroup.

ANZ and each of the executives charged are alleged to have been knowingly concerned in some or all of the alleged conduct.

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The cartel conduct is alleged to have taken place following an ANZ institutional share placement in August 2015.

The matter was listed before the Downing Centre Local Court in Sydney on 3 July 2018.

The Competition and Consumer Act requires any trial of such offences to proceed by way of indictment in the Federal Court of Australia or a state or territory Supreme Court.

Commenting on the matter, ACCC chair Rod Sims said: “As this matter involves criminal charges, we will not be commenting further at this time.”

An individual convicted of a criminal cartel offence may be sentenced to up to 10 years’ imprisonment or fined up to $420,000, or both.

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For corporations, the maximum fine for each criminal cartel offence is in excess of:

  • $10 million;
  • Three times the total benefits that have been obtained and are reasonably attributable to the commission of the offence; or
  • If the total value of the benefits cannot be determined, 10 per cent of the corporation’s annual turnover connected with Australia.

The prosecution is being conducted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.

The matter will be heard in the Federal Court at a later date.

[Related: ACCC clamping down on cartel conduct]

Banks up for trial on criminal cartel charges
Banks, execs face trial on criminal cartel charges
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Malavika Santhebennur

Malavika Santhebennur is the features editor on the mortgages titles at Momentum Media.

Before joining the team in 2019, Malavika held roles with Money Management and Benchmark Media. She has been writing about financial services for the past six years.

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