Inquiries

ACCC v Husqvarna Australia (franchise arrangements)

For Husqvarna Australia, an outdoor power products subsidiary of Swedish manufacturer Husqvarna Group, assisting it obtain a speedy and satisfactory resolution of an Australian Competition and Consumer Commission investigation (instructed by Holman Webb).

>> On 29 August 2018, the ACCC accepted Husqvarna's Court Enforceable Undertaking noting the ACCC’s concerns Husqvarna’s “dealership agreements” may have contravened provisions of the Franchising Code of Conduct, and consequently s 51ACB of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth), and made misleading representations in breach of ss 18 and 29(1)(m) of the Australian Consumer Law. Husqvarna cooperated with the ACCC’s investigation and has rewritten its dealership agreements to comply with the Code and the CCA. It has also undertaken not to enforce the terms in its existing agreements which the ACCC considered were likely to be unfair contract terms.

Inquiry into Water Compliance and Enforcement in NSW

Appeared for WaterNSW (NSW's bulk water supplier and statutory licensing authority under the Water NSW Act 2014 (NSW) and the Water Management Act 2010 (NSW)), instructed by Norton Rose Fulbright.

>> On 8 March 2018, the Ombudsman tabled a Special Report in the NSW Parliament in relation to a related investigation into WaterNSW's inadvertent provision of incorrect statistical information to the Ombudsman as to the enforcement actions that had been taken by or on behalf of WaterNSW.

>> On 17 August 2018, the Ombudsman tabled a further Special Report in the NSW Parliament of an investigation into the administration of water compliance and enforcement in NSW.

ASIC investigation into remuneration arrangements & SMSF advice

For a Queensland client in ongoing ASIC investigation and potential enforcement action re suspected contraventions of the conflicted remuneration prohibitions in Division 4 of Part 7.7A of the Corporations Act and financial advice concerning establishment of self-managed superannuation funds (current matter).

>> On 28 June 2018, ASIC released two related reports: 

Charitable Fundraising by RSL LifeCare

For RSL LifeCare Limited, a veterans and aged care charity and subsidiary of the Returned Services League of Australia (NSW Branch), instructed by PWC and Clayton Utz, in 10 weeks of hearings held between August and December 2017, into alleged misuse of charitable funds and breaches of the Charitable Fundraising Act 1991 (NSW) by the Returned Services League of NSW, its related entities, directors and officers.

>> Written Closing Submissions for RSL LifeCare

>> Oral Closing Address for RSL LifeCare

>> On 31 January 2018, the Public Inquirer, former Supreme Court of NSW Chief Judge in Equity, the Hon. Patrica Bergin SC, delivered her Report to the NSW Parliament.

>> On 16 May 2018, a related investigation by the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission into the Returned Services League of NSW and RSL LifeCare in relation to breaches of the Governance Standards under the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Act 2012 (Cth) was resolved, with the ACNC accepting Enforceable Undertakings from the RSL charities.

Independent Commission Against Corruption - Operation Credo (Public/Private Partnership Proposal for Water Infrastructure)

For Senator the Hon. Arthur Sinodinos AO, in relation to his former role as Chairman of Australian Water Holdings, instructed by Arnold Bloch Leibler, from initial hearings in January 2014, and in all subsequent hearings and related matters.

>> On 3 August 2017, the final report of Commissioner the Hon. Megan Latham, a judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, was finally made public and was tabled in the NSW Parliament; no adverse findings were made against Senator Sinodinos: Independent Commission Against Corruption - Operation Credo Report.

ASIC investigation into suspected insider trading

For the executive director of an ASX listed entity in ASIC investigation into suspected insider trading in the listed entity’s shares contrary to Division 3 of Pt 7.10 of the Corporations Act and potential continuous disclosure breaches (2016-2017).

>> On 17 February 2017, a "no action" letter was successfully obtained from ASIC.

 

Independent Commission Against Corruption - Operation Spicer (Political Donations in 2011 NSW State Election)

For Senator the Hon. Arthur Sinodinos AO instructed by Arnold Bloch Leibler, in inquiry commencing in January 2014 concerning political donations by prohibited donors and breaches of the Election Funding, Expenditure and Disclosures Act 1981 (NSW) in the 2011 NSW State Election campaign.

>> On 30 August 2016, the final report of Commissioner the Hon. Megan Latham, a judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, was delivered to the NSW Parliament; no adverse findings were made against Senator Sinodinos: Independent Commission Against Corruption - Operation Spicer Report.

Australian Senate Inquiry into Foreign Bribery (Leightons/Unaoil)

For a former Leightons Holdings executive, Mr Stephen Sasse, re allegations of foreign bribery involving Leightons offshore arm and Unaoil interests.

>> Media Coverage.

>> On 28 March 2018, the Report of Australian Senate Economics Committee Inquiry into Foreign Bribery was tabled in the Commonwealth Parliament.

Independent Commission Against Corruption - Operation Tunic (Claims Management & Procurement)

For the NSW Mine Subsidence Board (now Subsidence Advisory NSW, an agency of the NSW Department of Finance, Services & Innovation) in inquiry into alleged corrupt conduct in mine subsidence remediation procurement undertaken pursuant to the Mine Subsidence Compensation Act 1961, and whether end-to-end claims management processes lacked satisfactory controls to prevent corruption. 

>> The inquiry commenced in October 2014 before ICAC Commissioner the Hon. Megan Latham, a justice of the Supreme Court of New South Wales. 

>> On 23 March 2016, the Investigation report found that an MSB District Manager along with two contractors engaged by the MSB, had engaged in serious corrupt conduct. ICAC made seven corruption prevention recommendations to reduce the risk of recurrent corrupt conduct in the MSB. The MSB fully accepted the corruption prevention recommendations, and developed an action plan to implement the recommendations.

Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption (AWU/John Holland/Thiess Case Study)

For former John Holland executive, Mr Stephen Sasse, in hearings in October 2015 re his negotiations with former Australian Workers Union Secretary the Hon. Bill Shorten MP (now Federal Opposition Leader) with respect to construction of the East Link Project in Victoria.

>> Media Coverage.

>> On 6 January 2016, the Royal Commissioner, former High Court of Australia Justice, the Hon. Dyson Heydon QC, delivered his Final Report (Chapter 10.3: AWU: John Holland/Thiess Case Study) to the Commonwealth Government.

Independent Commission Against Corruption - Operation Vesta (Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority)

investigation into alleged corrupt conduct concerning property leases and improper influence of Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority (SHFA) officer, before ICAC Commissioner the Hon. David Ipp QC, former Supreme Court of New South Wales Judge of Appeal.

Media Coverage.

Independent Commission Against Corruption Report - Operation Vesta