ANZ, Citigroup and Deutsche Bank along with six of their former and current executives have been rounded up, to head to the Federal Court for trial on criminal cartel charges.
Former Deutsche Bank Australia chief executive Michael Ormaechea, who is now the chief investment officer for Flag Asset Management, and Michael Richardson, former head of equity capital markets at Deutsche Australia and New Zealand have been named among the executives heading to trial.
Mr Richardson is now head of Australia global capital markets at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Ex-Citi country head Stephen Roberts and executive Itay Tuchman have also been committed to stand trial, alongside ANZ staff members, John McLean, head of financial institutions, America and executive Rick Moscati.
The men were committed to trial from the NSW Local Court in Sydney on Tuesday following committal proceedings.
The three major banks were charged in June 2018, following an ACCC inquiry.
The charges involve cartel arrangements in 2015, relating to trading in ANZ shares held by Deutsche and Citi. ANZ and each of the executives charged are alleged to have been knowingly concerned in the conduct.
The ACCC has claimed the cartel behaviour took place following an ANZ institutional share placement in August 2015.
The competition watchdog has investigated the matter for more than two years.
ACCC chair Rod Sims said: “As this matter involves criminal charges, we will not be commenting further at this time.”
The maximum fine for a criminal cartel offence for corporations is the greatest of three options: a $10 million fine, three times the total benefits obtained and attributable to the commission of the offence, or if the total value of the benefits cannot be determined, 10 per cent of the corporation’s annual turnover connected with Australia.
An individual convicted of a criminal cartel offence can face up to 10 years’ imprisonment, a penalty up to $420,000 or both.
The prosecution is being conducted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.
The matter will be heard in the Federal Court at a later date.
Sarah Simpkins is a journalist at Momentum Media, reporting primarily on banking, financial services and wealth.
Prior to joining the team in 2018, Sarah worked in trade media and produced stories for a current affairs program on community radio.
You can contact her on [email protected].