Australia Charges Former Local Bosses of Citi, Deutsche, ANZ in Cartel Case

Australian watchdog charges ANZ, Citigroup and Deutsche with cartel offences

AUSTRALIAN banking giant ANZ and its advisers Deutsche Bank and Citigroup have been hit with criminal charges for alleged cartel conduct over a multibillion-dollar capital raising.

Deutsche Bank Aktiengesellschaft (Deutsche Bank) and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd (ANZ) have been charged with criminal cartel offences following an investigation by the ACCC.

Deutsche Bank and Citigroup have denied any wrongdoing, with the latter bank claiming that regulators were effectively criminalizing practices that have always been the norm in the financial industry.

He declined to comment further since the matter was before the court.

"We continue to provide Rick, his family and his colleagues with the necessary support and as we said last week we will be defending both him and ANZ", the spokesman said.

The case centers on ANZ Bank's institutional placement of 80.8 million shares in August 2015 and how the underwriters disposed of about 25.5 million shares they had to soak up in the sale.

Apart from Mr Moscati and Mr Roberts, those charged include Citigroup's current managing director John McLean and global head of foreign exchange trading Itay Tuchman as well as Deutsche Bank's former Australian chief executive Michael Ormaechea and Michael Richardson, who has also left the bank.

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Deutsche Bank's former head of equity capital markets in Australia, Michael Richardson, has also been charged.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's chairman Rod Sims said the charges followed a long investigation into alleged financial malpractice. He did indicate at the time, however, that investment banks were being probed.

Earlier this week, the country's biggest lender, Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), paid a record A$700 million ($535 million) to settle a civil lawsuit in which it was accused of more than 50,000 breaches of anti-money laundering protocols.

The cartel case announced this week has stunned the local market, which is used to regulators issuing warnings and quietly negotiating with banks before taking legal action, particularly the filing of criminal charges.

However, the power to push for charges is newer in Australia as cartel conduct was only criminalised in 2009.

Citigroup has already said the allegations that the underwriters of the placement acted improperly fall within a regulatory grey area.

The matter is listed to appear before the Downing Centre local court in Sydney on 3 July.

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