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Australia: Former heads of Citi, Deutsche Bank charged in a criminal cartel case

 |  June 5, 2018

Australian prosecutors charged the former local heads of Citigroup and Deutsche Bank with criminal cartel offenses, the most dramatic move so far in a country bent on taking bankers to task for years of misbehavior, reported Bloomberg.

The case centers on the banks’ actions following a AU$2.5 billion (US$1.9 billion) share sale by Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. (ANZ) in 2015. Under Australia’s cartel laws, executives can face up to 10 years in jail if found guilty. The three banks themselves are also being charged with criminal cartel offenses.

Australia’s banking industry, which thrived during the post-financial crisis years even as bankers elsewhere became symbols of destructive greed, has been convulsed in past months by public outrage. Until now, though, the scrutiny of banks had mostly centered on years of wrongdoing against retail customers and small businesses.

“These serious charges are the result of an ACCC investigation that has been running for more than two years,” Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) Chairman Rod Sims said in a statement detailing the charges on Tuesday, June 5. ANZ and each of the individuals are alleged to have been knowingly involved in some or all of the alleged conduct, the watchdog said.

Full Content: Bloomberg

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