The financial sector spent $80 million on lawyers
But our information suggests that this significantly undercuts the issue.
To defend the executive Richard Moscati just between October 1, 2020 and November 3, 2021 (when the bank’s last annual report was released), ANZ spent $1.81 million on legal fees.
It has disclosed lesser amounts spent on its defense under its employee compensation policy every year since fiscal 2018, including $1.2 million during the period covered by the fiscal 2020 annual report. .
The other five executives charged would have needed similar, separate legal representation (likely billed to their employers). The three indicted institutions would have needed more.
And then there are the costs incurred at JPMorgan, whose ACCC approach (through its lawyers at Gilbert + Tobin) helped kick things off.
In total, some people close to the case suggest a figure north of $80 million in legal costs stemming from disputes in the financial sector. And, since this was a criminal case as opposed to a civil one, it’s not money anyone can expect to get back.
(CDPP’s shock withdrawal of the case last month led to justice Michael Wigney to consider whether some reimbursement of defense costs was appropriate in this case. But he wasn’t sure at this point that there was even a provision under the Federal Court Act whereby this could happen.)
The case was a professional and personal disaster for many of its defendants, and hardly a shining moment for the regulator either.
However, at least the ACCC guys can see the bright side of their recent litigation record, with $83.5 million in fines resulting from CDPP’s pursuit of a criminal cartel involving several international shipping companies. The last sanctions were imposed a week before the withdrawal of the banking case.
Of course, this does not include legal costs…