Prosecutors drop more charges against media over Pell trial

Original article by Liz Main
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 6 : 14-Feb-20

Twenty-eight charges brought against four of the 36 journalists and media companies charged with breaching suppression orders in relation to Cardinal George Pell have been dropped. The orders were imposed in June 2018, with the media directed not to report on two trials that Pell faced over historical child sex offences until a verdict was handed down in the second trial. When Pell was found guilty in the first trial, the media reported that a high profile person had been found guilty, but that they were not allowed to report it. Prosecutors claimed that the media hints amounted to a breach of the orders.

CORPORATES
SUPREME COURT OF VICTORIA, VICTORIA. DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC PROSECUTIONS, NINE ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX NEC

Coalition seeks to sidestep high court ruling that Aboriginal non-citizens can’t be deported

Original article by Paul Karp, Calla Wahlquist
The Guardian Australia – Page: Online : 13-Feb-20

Attorney-General Christian Porter has indicated that the federal government may legislate to override the High Court’s majority decision that non-citizens of indigenous descent cannot be deported. Porter says the High Court ruling has implications for the government’s policy of deporting people who are convicted of serious crimes while in Australia on a visa. Legal experts have stated that it is too soon to determine the broader implications of the judgment.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S DEPT, HIGH COURT OF AUSTRALIA

High Court to hear sick leave appeal

Original article by Michael Pelly
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 8 : 10-Jan-20

The High Court has granted Mondelez International special leave to appeal against a 2019 Full Federal Court ruling in regard to the payment of sick leave to workers at its Cadbury plant in Tasmania. Amanda Banfield, Mondelez’s president for Australia and New Zealand, had stated that the Federal Court’s ruling meant that employees working the same hours on different rosters would be eligible for different leave amounts. Mondelez’s appeal has the backing of the federal government.

CORPORATES
MONDELEZ AUSTRALIA (FOODS) LIMITED, HIGH COURT OF AUSTRALIA, FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA, CADBURY AUSTRALIA LIMITED

No justice for SMEs when the tax office smells blood

Original article by Robert Gottliebsen
The Weekend Australian – Page: 31 : 21-Dec-19

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal’s landmark ruling in favour of the Australian Taxation Office against gold refiner EBS has significant implications for small and medium enterprises. The case – which centred on the tax treatment of bullion and scrap gold under the GST regime – had gone on for about six years, and the appeals process is likely to take another several years. The majority of SMEs simply cannot afford the cost of such lengthy legal proceedings. The small business appeals tribunal may provide some relief for SMEs, but government action is needed to make it easier for SMEs to conduct business in Australia.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN TAXATION OFFICE, AUSTRALIA. ADMINISTRATIVE APPEALS TRIBUNAL, EBS

Westpac slapped with $9m penalty over poor advice

Original article by Aleks Vickovich
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 20 : 20-Dec-19

Westpac has been ordered to pay a total of $9.15m for 22 breaches of the Corporations Act. The bank was found to be liable for the ‘deficient and defective’ financial advice that ex-employee Sudhir Sinha provided in 2013 and 2014. Sinha was deemed to have failed to act in the best interests of his clients by providing financial advice that was inappropriate for their personal circumstances. The Australian Securities & Investments Commission has banned Sinha from working in the industry for five years, while it launched legal action against Westpac in 2018.

CORPORATES
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, AUSTRALIAN SECURITIES AND INVESTMENTS COMMISSION, FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA

Bank stalled as ASIC demanded refunds

Original article by Michael Roddan
The Australian – Page: 13 & 14 : 19-Dec-19

Court documents filed by the Australian Securities & Investments Commission show that National Australia Bank’s internal auditors had raised concerns about charging fees for services that were not provided in April 2016. NAB subsequently made a public admission about the practice, but ASIC executive Louise Macaulay told NAB in November 2017 that its customer remediation program was out of step with rival banks. ASIC subsequently rejected a number of proposed models for compensating NAB customers, while the bank continued to charge ongoing fees until February 2019.

CORPORATES
NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB, AUSTRALIAN SECURITIES AND INVESTMENTS COMMISSION, FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIA. ROYAL COMMISSION INTO MISCONDUCT IN THE BANKING, SUPERANNUATION AND FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY

NAB to face legal pain over fee rort

Original article by Michael Roddan
The Australian – Page: 13 & 14 : 18-Dec-19

National Australia Bank’s annual general meeting on 18 December will be overshadowed by allegations that it engaged in unconscionable conduct. The Australian Securities & Investments Commission has filed a statement of claim in which it outlines some 8,700 instances in which NAB is alleged to have charged fees for services that were not provided between December 2013 and February 2019. Amongst other things, ASIC also alleges that NAB failed to issue adequate product disclosure statements. NAB has indicated that it has already paid $37.8m in compensation to customers who were affected by the fee-for-no-service scandal.

CORPORATES
NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB, AUSTRALIAN SECURITIES AND INVESTMENTS COMMISSION, WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, AMP LIMITED – ASX AMP

Forrest locks horns with WA government over native title court fight

Original article by Brad Thompson
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 20 : 11-Dec-19

Fortescue Metals Group is seeking special leave to appeal against a Federal Court ruling with regard to its Solomon iron ore mining hub in the Pilbara. Western Australia’s State Solicitors Office wants the High Court to dismiss Fortescue’s application, arguing that there are major flaws in its case. The Federal Court dismissed Fortescue’s appeal against a 2017 ruling in early October, effectively stating that it had constructed the mining hub without the consent of traditional land owners.

CORPORATES
FORTESCUE METALS GROUP LIMITED – ASX FMG, YINDJIBARNDI ABORIGINAL CORPORATION, FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA, HIGH COURT OF AUSTRALIA

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