ACCC Investigation Leads to Cartel Conduct Charges Being Laid Against Banks
In a recent, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (the “ACCC”) revealed that following an investigation, charges of criminal cartel conduct have been laid against Citigroup Global Markets Australia Pty Limited (Citigroup), Deutsche Bank Aktiengesellschaft (Deutsche Bank) and the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd (ANZ).
It also reports that criminal charges have also been laid against several senior bank executives.
The charges involve alleged cartel arrangements relating to trading in ANZ shares held by Deutsche Bank and Citigroup. ANZ and each of the individuals are alleged to have been knowingly concerned in some or all of the alleged conduct after the share placement. The cartel conduct is alleged to have taken place following an ANZ institutional share placement in August 2015.
According to, the case centres on ANZ’s Institutional Equity Placement of 80.8 million shares at $30.95 each in August 2015 and the lack of disclosure that 25.5 million of these went to two of the three joint lead managers - around 30 per cent of the shares (some 25.5 million worth $789.2 million) were unallocated during the raise.
Reaction from the ACCC
In a recent, Rod Sims (ACCC Chairman) said of this matter:
In February 2018, ACCC chairman Rod Sims launched the ACCC’s, putting cartel behaviour back on the agenda in Australia.
In his annual(CEDA) address on 20 February 2018, Mr Sims reflected on cartel prosecutions during 2017:
Response from the Banks
also reports that ANZ, Deutsche Bank and Citigroup intend to defend the charges. JPMorgan, the other lead manager, is reportedly co-operating with ACCC.
Deutsche Bank said in a statement:
A spokesperson for Citigroup commented:
Kevin Corbally, ANZ Chief Risk Officer said:
Under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth), individuals who are found guilty face up to 10 years in gaol and/or fines of up to $420,000 per criminal cartel offence, with institutions facing fines of up to $10 million per offence.
Previous Cartel Action by the ACCC
The ACCC reports in aof 5 April 2018, that Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (“K-Line”) - a global shipping company based in Japan - entered a guilty plea in the Federal Court of Australia (the “Federal Court”) to criminal cartel conduct. K-Line’s plea follows an investigation by the ACCC and charges laid by the CDPP in relation to cartel conduct concerning the international shipping of cars, trucks, and buses to Australia.
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