Citigroup Inc (NYSE: C), Deutsche Bank AG (NYSE: DB) and the Australian bank, ANZ are currently facing criminal charges in Australia resulting in an investigation into their responsibility in the sale of shares in one of the country’s top banks. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) claims that it expected prosecutors to bring in “criminal cartel” charges against Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, and ANZ. According to the regulator, the charges is related to trading in ANZ’s stock after it issued 81 million new shares that are worth about 2.5 Billion Austrian dollars or $1.9 billion in August 2015 from a deal backed by Citiroup and Deutsche Bank.
However, all three banks claim they did nothing wrong. Citigroup states: “The allegations involve an area of financial markets activity that has not been considered by any Australian court or addressed in any regulatory guidance notes previously published”. Citigroup “steadfastly denies” the claims and will strongly defend the company and its employees. Citigroup also stated that its company and employees acted with honesty and without any bad thoughts in justifying the responsibilities of this “underwriting agreement”.
Deutsche Bank also plan to fight the charges against them. Deutsche Bank states: “The bank believes it and its staff acted responsibly and in a manner consistent with market rules”. ANZ state that it “acted in accordance with the law” and intends to defend itself and its treasurer, Rick Moscati, who was named by the ACCC as one of the people who would face charges. The anticipated charges against the banks happened during an increased analysis of the finance industry in Australia. A Royal Commission, Australia’s highest form of public inquiry, is holding a series of hearings into misconduct in the financial services sector.