SYDNEY (Reuters) – Citigroup Inc (C.N) and Deutsche Bank AG (DBKGn.DE) may cross-examine four antitrust investigators involved in a criminal cartel prosecution against them, an Australian court ruled on Friday, a win for the defence in a closely watched legal battle.
The two banks plus JP Morgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) worked on a A$3 billion ($2 billion) stock issue for Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd (ANZ) (ANZ.AX) in 2015. Citi, Deutsche, ANZ and eight of their staff were charged last year with withholding crucial information from shareholders about the sale.
JP Morgan was granted immunity from prosecution when two of its former executives agreed to co-operate with regulators.
However, lawyers for the defence have said they want to question staff of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) in court about how they obtained evidence from the JP Morgan representatives. The ACCC opposed their request.
On Friday, a local court magistrate ruled that the defendants’ lawyers may cross-examine the ACCC staff on the subjects of how they obtained witness statements from the JP Morgan personnel and the staff’s level of cooperation with corporate regulator, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.