​Moylan escapes jail after coal hoax

Whitehaven Coal hoaxer Jonathon Moylan has escaped jail, after being convicted of disseminating false information to the market.

He has been placed on a good behaviour bond for two years.

Moylan has been “sentenced to one year and eight months imprisonment to be released forthwith upon entering into a recognisance of $1000 to be of good behaviour for two years,” according to ASIC.

He faced court earlier this month, after pleading guilty to a hoax press release purporting to be from ANZ, which temporarily wiped more than $314 million off the value of Whitehaven Coal.

The press release, which was produced by activist group Font Line Action on Coal, claimed the bank had withdrawn a recent $1.2 billion loan to help develop the Maules Creek project on ethical grounds.

During the trial Moylan voiced his surprise that it was run by a number of media outlets, with Moylan’s barrister telling that court that “any business journalist worth their salt” would checked the veracity of the release on the ASX itself.

The Crown also conceded that hoax did no financial damage to the ANZ bank.

During his the trial the Crown stated that this case, whilst being trialled as one of market manipulation, was different as it was not for individual or corporate profit.

Speaking on the sentencing of Moylan, ASIC commissioner Cathie Armour stated: “The capital markets are important to Australia with many Australians owning shares either directly or indirectly particularly through their superannuation funds.

“Accordingly, confidence in the honesty and integrity of the financial markets is of the utmost importance.

“ASIC will not hesitate to enforce the law to ensure investors are protected and the integrity of the market is maintained.”

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