Criminal cartel charges have been laid against ANZ, Citigroup and Deutsche Bank following an investigation by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC).
The charges come after alleged cartel arrangement relating to ANZ shares that were traded by Citigroup and Deutsche Bank following an ANZ institutional share placement in August 2015.
“These serious charges are the result of an ACCC investigation that has been running for more than two years,” said ACCC chairman Rod Sims.
“Charges have now been laid by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions and the matter will be determined by the court.”
The charges involve some of the most prominent names in Australian investment banking, including Stephen Roberts, Citigroup’s former country head for Australia, John McLean, Citigroup’s current managing director, and Itay Tuchman, Citigroup’s global head of foreign exchange trading.
Also charged were Michael Ormaechea, Deutsche Bank’s former Australian chief executive, Michael Richardson, Deutsche Bank’s former head of equity capital markets for Australia and New Zealand, and Rick Moscati, ANZ’s global head of treasury.
ANZ responded to the expected charges in a statement last week. 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.”
Citigroup said in a statement last week that it “steadfastly denies the allegations made against it, and certain employees” and “will vigorously defend these allegations on behalf of itself and its employees”.
Deutsche has also stated that it will defend the charges.
The ACCC has said it will not be providing any further comment on the case while it is before the court. The matter is due to be heard at Downing Centre Local Court in Sydney on 3 July.