Australia watchdog sues ANZ over its 2015 share issue

(Reuters) – Australia’s corporate regulator has launched a civil lawsuit against Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ.AX) over the bank’s 2015 share placement, following action against the bank on the matter earlier by the nation’s competition watchdog.

A pedestrian is reflected in the window of a branch of the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) in central Sydney, Australia, October 25, 2017. REUTERS/Steven Saphore

ANZ said in a statement on Friday that the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) said that the bank should have informed the market that the appointed joint lead managers had taken up about 25.5 million shares of the placement.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), had in June revealed plans to seek charges against ANZ as well as the former local bosses of Citigroup Inc (C.N) and Deutsche Bank AG (DBKGn.DE) on “criminal cartel offences” over the $2.3 billion stock issue.

Citibank and Deutsche Bank had served as underwriters for the issuance.

“ANZ’s disclosure in relation to the placement was in accordance with its ASX disclosure obligations as well as market practice and we are defending the matter,” the lender’s Chief Risk Officer, Kevin Corbally, said.

The ASIC action adds to the headaches being suffered by ANZ, which like its big banking peers is in the midst of a powerful quasi-judicial investigation into the Australian financial sector for wrongdoing.

Reporting By Rushil Dutta in Bengaluru; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman

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