Fortescue; Forrest, disappointed by ASIC appeal loss

The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) have won its appeal against the Fortescue Metals Group (FMG).

ASIC had appealed against the 2009 dismissal of its original civil penalty case against Fortescue and its chief Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest, which related to public statements released in 2004 by the miner regarding ‘binding’ infrastructure deals with Chinese investors to construct a port, mine and railway at its Pilbara projects.

Fortescue later revealed in March 2005 that agreements were negotiations and not concluded, the ABC reported.

FMG originally won its case and was cleared of misleading and deceptive conduct, as well as failing to comply with its continuous disclosure obligations.

The miner and Forrest could now face fines running into millions, as well as the possibility of Forrest being barred from running companies.

This appeal overturns Judge John Gilmour’s original ruling, although a decision on the penalties will be made at a later date.

Fortescue chairman Herb Elliot and Forrest voiced their disappointment at the decision and have stated that they will consider all available legal options following a review of the decision.

FMG and Forrest have been ordered to pay applicant’s costs.

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