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Greens reiterate call for a Royal Commission into banking

Greens Treasury spokesperson, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, commented today on ANZ’s involvement in the failed Timbercorp Managed Investment Scheme (MIS) and reiterated his call for a Royal Commission.

Senator Whish-Wilson said, “The collapse of the forestry MIS sector is reason enough for a Royal Commission into the financial services sector.

“$4 billion dollars was lost through what was, in effect, a Ponzi scheme. Tens of thousands of ordinary Australians, some of whom mortgaged their homes, were lured into an incredibly risky and complicated investment product. Forestry MIS should never have been sold to mum-and-dad investors.

“Yet ANZ’s CEO, Shane Elliott, has today avoided taking responsibility for the bank’s role in failed forestry MIS schemes. Timbercorp was secured by ANZ to the tune of $500 million. While ANZ never recommended Timbercorp products directly to retail investors, Timbercorp relied on finance from ANZ to be able to operate, and Timbercorp customers were required to sign full recourse loans on their borrowing against FMIS products.

“While ANZ says it was not directly involved, why did some Timbercorp clients sign over their houses to ANZ as security?

“Incredibly, Mr Elliott refuses to take full responsibility for the pain and suffering caused by the collapse of Timbercorp. ANZ must have known exactly how Timbercorp was operating. It belies belief that ANZ didn’t understand the nature of a half a billion dollar liability,” he concluded.

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Media contact: Fraser Brindley 0417557477

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