A major Liberal-linked arms firm faces prosecution for misleading investors after an attempt to prevent the corporate regulator from accessing key documents.
The corporate regulator ASIC commenced proceedings against Liberal-linked shipbuilder Austal this morning for breaches of corporate law in relation to its US business, after a two-and-a-half-year investigation and a long battle by the company to claim legal privilege over masses of documents.
ASIC alleges that WA-based Austal, which is both a Liberal party donor and fundraiser host for the WA Liberals with links to Scott Morrison, Peter Dutton, Michaelia Cash, Linda Reynolds and Christian Porter, failed for nearly a month in 2016 to disclose a US$90 million writedown in its US business building warships for the US Navy. That provides more than 80% of the company’s revenue. Austal’s Mobile, Alabama facility was raided by US Securities and Exchange Commission agents as part of the investigation.
Austal has been attempting to prevent ASIC from accessing “a large number of documents” (in the words of its annual report) by claiming legal privilege, a claim rejected by ASIC. The corporate regulator is also alleging that Austal engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct by failing to withdraw its earlier earnings guidance about US revenue. Then-CEO David Singleton also faces proceedings.
Read more about the woes of this Liberal-linked arms company…
Already a subscriber? Log in to keep reading.
Or, register your email address for a FREE 21-day trial.