Fortescue Chief Executive Released from ASIC Charges

Submitted by Jim Thesiger on 24 December, 2009 - 06:54

Andrew Forrest, the chief executive of Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) has been released from the charges that Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) brought against him. The Federal court dismissed the charges against the miner and its chief executive yesterday as ASIC failed to present any evidence to support its case. The ruling is considered as a major breakthrough for Fortescue, as now it will be able to give full emphasise on expanding its business under the directions of Andrew Forrest. It is to be mentioned that Mr. Forrest played the central role in turning Fortescue into a rising iron ore producer which is currently enjoying a massive $40 billion worth of market value. Mr. Forrest would have no other options but to leave the board of the company if he was convicted of the misleading and deceptive conduct charges something that would hit the miner badly.

Herb Elliott, the Fortescue chairman stated that his company’s strong defense of its position was justified by this Federal court ruling. He also added that now the company will be able to give full concentration on its plans to boost up its operation with more than 45 million tonnes of iron ore being shipped.

On the other hand, this is the third major loss for ASIC within just six weeks and its ability to deal with the additional workload since the outbreak of the worldwide financial crisis is likely to come under serious scrutiny. ASIC lost its case against Jodee Rich- the founder of One-Tel last month and had another of its cases permanently stayed by a Victorian court which the regulator filed against Andrew Lindberg, the ex-managing director of wheat exporter AWB. In both occasions, the judges involved with the cases severely criticised ASIC for its actions. In response to the latest event, ASIC released a statement last night where it mentioned that the regulator is currently assessing whether to appeal the decision.