FRESH PROBES HIT SLATER AND GORDON AS ASIC INVESTIGATES RECORDS
Written on the 21 December 2016 by Business News Australia
THE Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) has served Slater and Gordon with two notices to produce documents, relating to an investigation into the accuracy of the embattled firm's records.
ASIC is seeking to determine whether Slater and Gordon deliberately falsified or manipulated documents over the course of almost 10 months in 2014/15.
During its investigation, ASIC will attempt to discover whether Slater and Gordon or any of its officers have committed offences.
The period under current ASIC scrutiny came prior to the firm's posting of a record $1 billion loss in FY16, a loss largely caused by write-downs related to its $1.3 billion acquisition of UK-based Quindell in 2015.
Following a disastrous year for Slater and Gordon, rival Maurice Blackburn - acting on behalf of around 3,000 shareholders - embroiled the firm in one of Australia's largest ever corporate class actions to date.
The claim will allege that shareholders were ill-informed on the acquisition of Quindell and the impact of UK legislation changes, stating that Slater and Gordon failed to disclose vital information in a timely manner.
Slater and Gordon has indicated it will cooperate with ASIC during its current investigation, providing the relevant notices later this month and in early January 2017.
ASIC states the notices should not be taken as an indication of legal contravention, nor should they be considered a reflection on any person or entity.
In November, more than 43 per cent of shareholders voted against Slater and Gordon's remuneration report, a move which earned the firm its 'first strike'.
If more than 25 per cent of shareholders vote against the remuneration report at next year's AGM, the firm will be hit with its 'second strike' and there will be a spill of the board.
In the meantime, the company has established a performance improvement program to combat its failures in the UK market.
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Author: Business News Australia