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Australian Watchdog Withdraws Bank Cartel Case

 |  February 10, 2022

The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) has today withdrawn charges against Citigroup Global Markets Australia (Citigroup), Deutsche Bank AG and four senior banking executives in relation to criminal cartel allegations arising from an ANZ institutional share placement in August 2015. This decision was made in accordance with the Prosecution Policy of the Commonwealth.

The charges involved alleged cartel arrangements relating to trading in ANZ shares held by Deutsche Bank and Citigroup. This conduct was investigated by the ACCC and in mid-2017 was referred to the CDPP, who decided to bring criminal cartel charges. The ACCC was made aware of the conduct through an immunity application by another party involved in the conduct.

“We respect the independent decision of the CDPP, and with them will consider what lessons can be learnt from this matter,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.

“Cartel conduct involves businesses acting together instead of competing fairly with each other. We considered that the alleged conduct stood to damage competition and the Australian economy. That is why the ACCC investigated this conduct and referred the evidence to the CDPP. The Office of the CDPP assessed the evidence very carefully and, as required by law, made an independent decision to prosecute based at all times on an application of the Prosecution Policy of the Commonwealth.”

“When competition is impeded, this usually results in increased prices for other businesses and consumers, and the ACCC will take action when it has reason to believe businesses are acting anti-competitively,” Mr Sims said.

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