Australia Securities and Investments Commission has initiated civil penalty proceedings against Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ASX: ANZ) alleging that the bank has failed to comply with its continuous disclosure obligations. The issue dates to 2015 and is related to an underwritten institutional placement in August 2015.
ANZ has already disclosed in June that it is under an active investigation conducted by ASIC wherein the Australian watchdog launched a criminal cartel case against the bank. According to ASIC, ANZ was bound to advise the market that the joint lead managers i.e. Deutsche Bank, Citi and JP Morgan held up 25.5 Mn shares of the placement. ANZ would defend the allegation stating that the total shares in question are below 1% of the issue at the time and were taken up by the managers because the boon suggested that placement was covered at 103%. The beleaguered Bank further stated that it had no knowledge of the norms wherein the listed company needs to disclose the shares taken up by the underwriters in an equity placement.
ANZ chief risk officer Kevin Corbally stated that the disclosures made by ANZ are in tandem with the ASX disclosure obligations along with market practices. Therefore, ANZ would defend the matter and does not have anything more to say at present. The criminal cartel law suggests that an individual, if found guilty can face up to 10 years imprisonment or fines up to $420,000. Companies on the other hand would have to part ways with 10% of annual turnover, or thrice the profit made by the action.
ANZ was trading at $28.15, up 0.32% as on 14 September 2018 (AEST: 4:50 p.m.).
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