Citigroup Global Markets Australia, Deutsche Bank and ANZ have been formally charged with criminal cartel offences following an investigation by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
Several senior executives: John McLean, Itay Tuchman and Stephen Roberts of Citigroup; Michael Ormaechea and Michael Richardson formerly of Deutsche Bank; and Rick Moscati of ANZ have also been charged.
Executives can face up to 10 years in jail if found guilty under Australia’s cartel laws.
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.
The cartel conduct allegedly occurred following an ANZ institutional share placement in August 2015.
Australia’s banks have become became symbols of destructive greed, sparking public outrage.
The charges however are significant because the scrutiny of banks has mostly focused on their wrongdoing against retail customers and small businesses. Cartel behaviour is entirely different.
“These serious charges are the result of an ACCC investigation that has been running for more than two years,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.
“Charges have now been laid by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions and the matter will be determined by the Court.”
The matter is listed before the Downing Centre Local Court in Sydney on 3 July 2018.
The charges also come after the Commonwealth Bank of Australia on Monday settled its proceedings with AUSTRAC over anti-money laundering allegations for $700 million.
They also coincide with Hayne Royal Commission into financial services uncovering revelations of the banks and financial services companies lying to regulators, extracting fees from customers long since dead and falsifying documents.