Australia’s corporate watchdog sued Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd (ANZ.AX) on Friday over a troubled A$2.5 billion ($1.8 billion) share placement, flexing its muscle amid criticism levied at regulators for being soft on finance firms.
The move means Australia’s third-largest bank now faces two lawsuits over the 2015 capital raising. The antitrust regulator already filed criminal cartel charges against the lender and its two investment banks, Citigroup Inc and Deutsche Bank AG, accusing them of colluding over the fundraising.
In a civil court filing, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) said ANZ broke company laws by failing to tell investors that its underwriters had bought A$791 million of the A$2.5 billion shares it was trying to sell.
The 31 percent shortfall, “if disclosed, was information that a reasonable person would expect to have a material effect upon the price of ANZ shares,” ASIC said.