ANZ facing action over .5bn placement

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ANZ facing action over .5bn placement

As new bank equity flooded the market, ANZ shares closed 7.5 percent lower on August 7, 2015, when the Melbourne-based lender announced it had completed the institutional component of the raising, according to a Reuters analysis.

ANZ said it would not be providing further comment at this time.

The criminal charges allege cartel arrangements made during an underwritten, institutional equity share placement in August 2015.

"I do appreciate that there was a level of surprise that we moved so quickly and through a placement", Mr Smith said in August 2015.

ANZ said it was notified by ACCC late yesterday and is co-operating with ASIC in the investigation.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said in a statement on Friday that the matter stems from a 2.5-billion-Australian dollar (1.89 billion US dollar) share placement in August of 2015, when the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority required the nation's biggest lenders to strengthen their exposure by raising capital.

"If the ACCC believes there are matters to address, these should be clarified by law or regulation or consultation", it said.

"Underwriting syndicates exist to provide the capacity to assume risk and to underwrite large capital raisings, and have operated successfully in Australia in this manner for decades". ANZ said it would also fight the accusations against Moscati. The ACCC refers serious cartel conduct to the CDPP for consideration of prosecution in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding between the CDPP and the ACCC regarding Serious Cartel Conduct.

"Any such allegation should be considered in the context that ANZ's shares are bought and sold freely by thousands of shareholders in volumes representing hundreds of millions of dollars every business day, including for the period in question".

The stakes are high for each of the three banks: under Aussie cartel laws, companies can be fined up to 10 percent of their turnover or three times the profit gained, while executives can face jail terms of up to 10 years if found guilty.

"Resorting to criminal charges against the ANZ and others would suggest that the authorities feel that they have a particularly strong case", Grant said.

ANZ shares dropped 60 cents - or 2.2 per cent - this morning to $26.61, the worst of the big banks.

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