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ASIC initiates proceedings against fund manager

The corporate regulator is taking legal action against a listed funds management company following concerns relating to a takeover bid, seeking disqualification orders and financial penalties. 

ASIC has initiated civil penalty proceedings in the Federal Court against Mariner Corporation Limited and specifically against its chief executive, Darren Olney-Fraser, director Donald Christie and former director Matthew Fletcher.

The proceedings relate to concerns that ASIC has with a proposed takeover bid for the Austock Group from June 2012.

According to a statement, ASIC alleges that “Mariner was reckless as to whether it could perform its obligations under the proposed bid because it did not have the financial resources to fund the bid or any commitment or assurance from another party to fund the bid at the time of the announcement”; that “the announcement was misleading because the proposed bid was at a price less than Mariner was permitted to offer and because it misled the market as to Mariner’s ability to fund the bid”; and that “the directors breached their duties by failing to give sufficient consideration to the steps that needed to be taken before making the announcement”.