High-ranking bank officials, including the former CEOs of Citigroup and Deutsche Bank in Australia, are among the executives charged over a cartel involving a $2.5 billion ANZ institutional share placement.
The Director of Public Prosecutions on Tuesday formally laid criminal charges against ANZ, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank and six executives, among them Citi’s former chief executive Stephen Roberts and ex-Deutsche boss Michael Ormaechea.
Also facing charges are Citigroup’s managing director, John McLean, and its global head of foreign exchange, Itay Tuchman; ANZ group treasurer Rick Moscati; and Deutsche’s former head of equity capital markets, Michael Richardson.
“These serious charges are the result of an ACCC investigation that has been running for more than two years,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims said in a statement. “Charges have now been laid by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions and the matter will be determined by the court.”
The charges involve alleged arrangements relating to trading in ANZ shares held by Deutsche Bank and Citigroup. ANZ and the six executives are charged with being knowingly concerned in some or all of the alleged conduct.
The illegal arrangement is alleged to have been made following the ANZ institutional share placement in August 2015, which raised $2.5 billion in capital for the bank.
ANZ first revealed the expected charges in an announcement to the Australian Stock Exchange on Friday.
“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.” chief Risk Officer Kevin Corbally said.
Citigroup also released a statement that day, saying it “steadfastly denies” the allegations would vigorously defend the charges. It indicated the ACCC was moving into unchartered territory in recommending the charges.
“The allegations involve an area of financial markets activity that has not been considered by any Australian court or addressed in any regulatory guidance notes previously published by the ACCC or the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). This is a highly technical area and if the ACCC believes there are matters to address, these should be clarified by law or regulation or consultation,” Citigroup said.
A spokesperson for Deutsche Bank did not immediately respond to a request for comment late Tuesday.
The matter is listed for a hearing at the Downing Centre Local Court in Sydney on July 3.
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