Friday 11 August 2006 06 – LAWFUEL – Legal News Network – The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has obtained a declaration in the Federal Court of Australia that CiTiConsulting Pty Ltd (CitiConsulting), a Melbourne-based accounting firm, engaged in misleading conduct by sending a letter to shareholders in Patrick Corporation Limited (Patrick).
CitiConsulting, which consented to the declaration being made, sent letters to shareholders in Patrick stating that each shareholder had an unclaimed asset arising from the recent takeover by Toll Holdings Limited (Toll) of Patrick. CitiConsulting was offering to collect the unclaimed assets for a fee, however failed to disclose that shareholders had recourse under section 666B of the Corporations Act 2001 to obtain their entitlements from Patrick for no fee and without the need of an intermediary service, such as the service offered by CiTiConsulting.
The Federal Court of Australia has also restrained CitiConsulting from enforcing any authorities it had received from shareholders and ordered CitiConsulting to send a written notice to each of the former shareholders of Patrick who had responded to CiTiConsulting to the effect that the letter and authority sent to such shareholders is misleading and in breach of section 1041H of the Corporations Act 2001 and section 12DA of the ASIC Act 2001.
‘ASIC will take urgent action to ensure that companies who make unsolicited offers do not make misleading and deceptive statements, and comply with their obligations under the law to inform shareholders of all the options available to them in claiming funds owed to them’, Mr Mark Steward, ASIC’s Deputy Executive Director of Enforcement said.
‘ASIC is pleased that shareholders who accepted the offer, potentially without knowing they could obtain their entitlement free of charge, will not be required to proceed with the transaction as a result of the Court orders’, Mr Steward added.
*CitiConsulting Pty Ltd is not related to Citigroup PLC. For further information contact: Mark Steward Deputy Executive Director of Enforcement Telephone: 03 9280 3467 Mobile: 0412 860 940 Danielle Huck ASIC Media Unit Telephone: 03 9280 3407 Mobile: 0417 540 769 Page 1 of 1