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BFCSA: ANZ accused of racial bigotry towards Indian billionaires Pankaj and Radhika Oswal

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ANZ accused of racial bigotry towards Indian billionaires Pankaj and Radhika Oswal

Sarah Danckert

1 June 2016

http://www.smh.com.au/business/mining-and-resources/anz-accused-of-racial-bigotry-towards-indian-billionaires-pankaj-and-radhika-oswal-20160601-gp8reh.html

ANZ Bank and its senior executives, including former chief executive Mike Smith, have been accused of "racial bigotry" in their dealings with flamboyant billionaires Pankaj and Radhika Oswal.

 

In explosive emails between ANZ senior executive Chris Page and former CEO Mike Smith, Mr Page used a slew of derogatory terms to describe the couple, the Supreme Court of Victoria heard.

"In essence we are dealing with two very unsavoury characters," Mr Page told Mr Smith in the email.

 

"We are dealing with Indians with no moral compass and an Indian woman who is every bit as devious as PO (Pankaj Oswal)" Mr Page said in his email to Mr Smith.The lawyer for Mr and Mrs Oswal, Tony Bannon, said the use of the word Indian by Mr Page in the email was "derogatory".

 

"It is no more or less than racial bigotry," Mr Bannon said because it implied the couple "had character flaws that were essentially Indian".

"To think he could send it to the CEO of the bank without the fear of rebuke betrayed what was indeed the true culture of what was acceptable for the CEO of the bank," Mr Bannon said.  'Well done'

 

Rather than admonishing Mr Page for his language, Mr Bannon said Mr Smith's response showed he held similar beliefs to Mr Page.

 

"Chris Well done," Mr Smith told Mr Page.  "I guess we just need to keep the pressure on.  "What a bunch," Mr Smith added.

 

Speaking after the court hearing in Melbourne on Wednesday, a spokesman for ANZ said: "Any form of racism is unacceptable. However the comments are irrelevant to the legal merits of the Oswals case."

 

The sensational allegations come just days after ANZ accused recently booted Bell Potter analyst Angus Aitken as being sexist over a note to clients over the appointment of Michelle Jablko as ANZ's chief financial officer.

 

Earlier this year, ANZ itself was subject to allegations it fostered a toxic culture on its trading room floor that was rife with drug use, sexist behaviour and alleged misconduct.

 

Mr and Mrs Oswal are suing the ANZ Bank and receivers from PPB Advisory over the forced sale of their 65 per cent stake in Western Australian resources giant Burrup Fertilisers.

 

The Oswals allege their stake was sold for $US560 million - far less than they say it was worth. They are seeking damages of between $1.5 billion and $2.5 billion over the sale.

 

Separately, ANZ Bank has accused Mr Oswal of siphoning off $150 million of company funds for personal use. Mr and Mrs Oswal are also disputing a $186 million tax bill issued by the Australian Taxation Office.

 

The trial continues.


http://www.smh.com.au/business/comment-and-analysis/the-rant-that-cost-the-master-of-the-universe-angus-aitken-his-job-20160526-gp4b9w.html’

 


  

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