Man pleads guilty to misleading ASIC about shareholding

sec charges

Mr John Lindsay Merity, of North Nowra, New South Wales, has pleaded guilty before the District Court of New South Wales to charges of giving false or misleading information to Australian regulator ASIC about shareholding.

The charges were brought following ASIC enquiries in 2009 and 2010 to identify those parties who had a relevant interest in 17,376,120 shares in Northwest Resources Limited (Northwest) that were held by Craigside Company Ltd (Craigside) and Broome Enterprises Ltd (Broome Enterprises). Both Craigside and Broome Enterprises were companies incorporated in the British Virgin Islands and operating from Hong Kong.

ASIC made the enquiries to ensure that the market was properly informed of the identity of all parties who had an interest in what was a substantial Northwest shareholding. Such information is essential for market transparency and ensuring that trading occurs in an informed environment.

During the course of those enquiries and in response to ASIC’s Directions to Disclose, Mr Merity, between 22 October 2009 and 5 November 2009 and again between 11 January 2010 and 16 January 2010, knowingly made false or misleading statements to ASIC by stating that he had no interest in the shares when, in fact, he did.

Mr Merity, 72, pleaded guilty to two counts of making false or misleading statements to ASIC contrary to s 1308(2) of the Corporations Act 2001. Each offence carries a maximum penalty of five years’ imprisonment.

Following his plea, Mr Merity was ordered to deliver his passport to ASIC. He will be sentenced by the District Court of New South Wales at a later date.

The matter is being prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.

The complete announcement can be seen here.

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