Westpac open to settlement

Original article by Michael Roddan
The Australian – Page: 17 & 21 : 10-Dec-19

The Federal Court has been told that Westpac and Austrac could potentially finalise a statement of agreed facts with regard to the bank’s breach of anti-money laundering laws by late February. Westpac has also advised that it will not contest the bulk of the 23 million civil charges that it is facing, which could allow the case to be settled quickly. Westpac is also under scrutiny by the Australian Securities & Investments Commission and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, while the bank could face a board spill at its annual meeting.

CORPORATES
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, AUSTRALIA. ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S DEPT. AUSTRALIAN TRANSACTION REPORTS AND ANALYSIS CENTRE, AUSTRALIAN SECURITIES AND INVESTMENTS COMMISSION, AUSTRALIAN PRUDENTIAL REGULATION AUTHORITY, FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA

JPMorgan helped identify cartel bankers

Original article by Pamela Williams
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 8 : 6-Dec-19

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission is taking criminal cartel action against the ANZ Bank, Citigroup and Deutsche Bank, as well as six of their executives. The ACCC’s action relates to a $2.5 billion capital raising by ANZ, with the ACCC alleging that bankers from the three companies conspired to restrict the supply of or maintain the price of ANZ shares following the capital raising. Former JP Morgan executive Richard Galvin has told the New South Wales Local Court that he had listened to covert phone recordings to help the ACCC identify bankers on the calls.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, CITIGROUP PTY LTD, DEUTSCHE BANK AG, JP MORGAN AUSTRALIA LIMITED, LOCAL COURT OF NEW SOUTH WALES

IR class action costs ruling appealed

Original article by David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 10 : 18-Nov-19

UK-based litigation funder Augusta Ventures will appeal a court ruling that it must pay security of costs up-front in a wage theft class action. The case centres on allegations that BHP and labour hire firms underpaid casual workers at the Mount Arthur coal mine. Australian Industry Group CEO Innes Willox warns that there is the potential for workers to receive nothing from a class action payout once a litigation funder has received its share. He has called for the sector to be subject to the same regulation as financial services providers.

CORPORATES
AUGUSTA VENTURES, BHP GROUP LIMITED – ASX BHP, THE AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY GROUP, ADERO LAW

Tennis Australia risked disaster if Ten won Open

Original article by Liz Main
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 7 : 8-Nov-19

The Australian Securities & Investments Commission has launched legal action against former Tennis Australia board members Harold Mitchell and Stephen Healy. It alleges Mitchell went over the heads of other board members to ensure Seven secured a five-year deal in 2013 to cover the Australian Open, despite Network Ten putting in a competing offer, and it alleges Healy was complicit in the deal. Mitchell’s lawyer Neil Young QC suggested to former Tennis Australia executive Stephen Ayles during hearings on 7 November that if there was a risk that Ten could go into administration during the five years of a possible deal that it would be disastrous for Tennis Australia, to which Ayles agreed.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN SECURITIES AND INVESTMENTS COMMISSION, TENNIS AUSTRALIA, SEVEN NETWORK LIMITED, TEN NETWORK HOLDINGS LIMITED

Banks, super face new round of compo costs

Original article by Joyce Moullakis
The Australian – Page: 21 : 7-Nov-19

Law firm Minter Ellison has warned that banks and wealth managers could face additional customer remediation costs if Westpac does not appeal against a recent judgment regarding the provision of financial advice. Minter Ellison partner Andrew Bradley says the Federal Court’s decision to overturn a judgment in favour of Westpac could also prompt more class actions in the financial services sector. The case centred on the distinction between general and personal advice.

CORPORATES
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, MINTER ELLISON, FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIAN SECURITIES AND INVESTMENTS COMMISSION, HERBERT SMITH FREEHILLS PTY LTD

New ACCC case targets Google

Original article by Paul Smith, Yolanda Redrup
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 19 & 22 : 5-Nov-19

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission is preparing an antitrust case against Google over the collapse of mobile advertising group Unlockd. The ACCC’s case will centre on whether Google’s conduct in relation to Unlockd constituted a breach of section 46 of the Competition and Consumer Act, which prohibits the misuse of market power. Google is also the subject of antitrust proceedings in the US.

CORPORATES
GOOGLE INCORPORATED, UNLOCKD PTY LTD, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, ROKT PTY LTD, FITBIT INCORPORATED

Tennis boss helped Seven win TV rights

Original article by John Stensholt
The Australian – Page: 3 : 5-Nov-19

The Federal Court has commenced hearing a civil lawsuit against former Tennis Australia executives Harold Mitchell and Steve Healy. The Australian Securities & Investments Commission has made a number of allegations about the pair regarding the negotiations for a tennis broadcasting rights deal in 2012. Amongst other things, Mitchell is alleged to have provided the Seven Network with details of rival bids. The advertising industry veteran has denied the allegations.

CORPORATES
TENNIS AUSTRALIA, SEVEN NETWORK LIMITED, SEVEN WEST MEDIA LIMITED – ASX SWM, FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIAN SECURITIES AND INVESTMENTS COMMISSION

Court says backpacker tax is discriminatory

Original article by Tom McIlroy
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 3 : 31-Oct-19

Arnold Bloch Leibler partner Clint Harding says some backpackers could be entitled to tax refunds after a landmark court ruling on the federal government’s tax on the earnings of working holidaymakers. The Federal Court’s Justice John Logan has ruled that the backpacker tax breaches non-discrimination clause in Australia’s tax treaties with eight countries, including the UK, the US, Germany and Japan. The Australian Taxation Office may appeal the ruling.

CORPORATES
FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA, ARNOLD BLOCH LEIBLER, AUSTRALIAN TAXATION OFFICE, TAXBACK.COM

ABC raid could scare off sources

Original article by Hannah Wootton
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 4 : 30-Oct-19

The Federal Court has adjourned its hearing into the ABC’s legal challenge to the validity of a police raid on its Sydney headquarters in June. Matt Collins, SC, who is representing the public broadcaster, has told the court that whistleblowers will be reluctant to contact journalists if the Australian Federal Police’s search warrant is not overturned. Amongst other things, the ABC’s case is based on the implied freedom of political communication in the Constitution.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION, AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL POLICE, FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA

Google faces court case over misled users

Original article by David Swan, Elias Visontay
The Australian – Page: 1 & 6 : 30-Oct-19

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission has launched legal action against digital giant Google for misleading users of Android smartphones with regard to the amount of data it collects and how the data would be used. Amongst other things, the ACCC contends that Google failed to inform consumers that it would continue to receive location data from their smartphones if they switched off the ‘location history’ option. Google faces potential fines of up to $10m or 10 per cent of its annual turnover if the alleged breaches of Australian consumer law are proven in the Federal Court.

CORPORATES
GOOGLE INCORPORATED, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA