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ANZ Bank faces criminal cartel charges over 2015 share sale

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Australia & New Zealand Banking Group faces criminal charges by Australian prosecutors over alleged cartel conduct during a A$2.5 billion (S$2.53 billion) share sale in 2015.

[SYDNEY] Australia & New Zealand Banking Group faces criminal charges by Australian prosecutors over alleged cartel conduct during a A$2.5 billion (S$2.53 billion) share sale in 2015.

The allegations center on whether the bank should have stated the joint lead managers took up approximately 25.5 million shares in the placement - less than 1 per cent of total stock on issue at the time, according to a statement from the Melbourne-based lender Friday.

ANZ Bank's group treasurer Rick Moscati may also face criminal cartel charges. The bank said it believes it acted in accordance with the law in relation to the placement and intends to defend itself and its employee.

The allegations add to a litany of woes for the banking industry. An inquiry into misconduct in the financial industry has uncovered extensive wrongdoing, from lying to regulators, falsifying documents and taking bribes, to extracting fees from customers long since dead. ANZ Bank last year paid A$50 million to settle allegations it rigged a benchmark interest rate.

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In a separate statement, the Australian competition regulator, which investigates cartel conduct, said two other companies and a number of individuals may also be charged.

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