Deutsche Bank, Citigroup, ANZ face charges of criminal cartels

Deutsche Bank AG, Citigroup Inc. and Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. face criminal charges in Australia for alleged cartel conduct over a sale of shares of A $ 2.5 billion ($ 1.9 billion) almost three years ago

The charges related to the trading of shares of ANZ Bank after its institutional placement in August 2015, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said in a statement on Friday, naming the Melbourne-based lender and two of the agreement's subscribers.

"It will be alleged that ANZ and the individuals were knowingly or partially concerned about all of the conduct," said ACCC President Rod Sims. "The expected charges follow a broad investigation of the ACCC criminal cartel."

The three banks said they had complied with the market rules and will defend the accusations.

The sale was aimed at raising ANZ Bank's capital reserves while the nation's creditors scrambled to comply with the new regulatory requirements . According to Citigroup, a criminal case would be an unprecedented incursion by prosecutors in an area of ​​Australia's capital markets that has successfully used underwriting guilds for decades.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission, the market regulator, is also investigating whether ANZ Bank should have indicated at the time that the joint lead managers took approximately 25.5 million shares in the placement. That was almost a third of the sale of shares and 0.9 percent of the total shares of ANZ at that time.

& # 39; Strong case & # 39;

Such a prosecution "is almost unique," said Andrew Grant, who specializes in banking at the University of Sydney Business School. "Resorting to criminal charges against ANZ and others would suggest that the authorities feel they have a particularly strong case."

Read more about allegations of irregularities committed by Australian banks


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