Sydney: Six current and former top executives from banking giants Deutsche Bank, Citigroup and ANZ were charged Tuesday by Australian federal prosecutors with criminal cartel conduct over a multi-billion-dollar capital raising.
The charges come as Australia's top lenders face scrutiny over their behaviour amid a royal commission investigating misconduct in the sector.
John McLean, Itay Tuchman and Stephen Roberts of Citigroup, Michael Ormaechea and Michael Richardson formerly of Deutsche Bank, and Rick Moscati of ANZ were charged after a probe by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
Australia's ANZ and its advisers Deutsche Bank and Citigroup also face charges over the Aus$2.5 billion (US$1.9 billion) capital-raising in 2015 from institutional investors.
The ACCC said the charges involved alleged cartel arrangements relating to trading in ANZ shares held by Deutsche Bank and Citigroup.
It claims that ANZ and the executives had been "knowingly concerned in some or all of the alleged conduct" following the institutional share placement in 2015.
"These serious charges are the result of an ACCC investigation that has been running for more than two years," ACCC chairman Rod Sims said in a statement, without giving further details.
According to the ACCC, cartel conduct occurs when businesses act together, instead of competing against each other, to drive up the profit of cartel members.
All three banks have said they would fight the charges, which are due to be heard in a Sydney court next month.