Infamous activist Jonathan Moylan has been charged over a hoax press release which temporarily wiped more than $314 million off the value of Whitehaven Coal.
Corporate regulator ASIC launched an investigation into the fake release in January.
The press release which was produced by activist group Font Line Action on Coal, purporting to be from ANZ and claimed the bank had withdrawn a recent $1.2 billion loan to help develop the Maules Creek project on ethical grounds.
Moylan faces up to 10 years in jail and a maximum fine of $495,000, SMH reported.
ASIC confirmed Moylan has been charged with one offence of breaching section 1041E of the Corporations Act, covering the making of false or misleading statements.
Moylan today told Australian Mining that he is willing to go to jail for his cause saying the miner shouldn’t be allowed to destroy the forest.
His next court appearance is scheduled for July 23 at the Downing Centre Local Court
The Lock The Gate Alliance president Drew Hutton has slammed the charge as a double standard saying it is ''extraordinary'' that Moylan is facing jail.
''We are asking ASIC to reconsider their decision and withdraw the prosecution – the penalty is clearly disproportionate to the offence and Mr Moylan has apologised to anyone affected by his actions,'' he said.
''Whether you agree with his actions or not, Mr Moylan's intent was obviously just to tell the world about the plight of the people and environments at risk from this massive coal mine.''