Slater & Gordon’s shares have dropped following allegations from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission that the firm gave a false impression of its financial position ahead of its ill-fated purchase of the legal services division from Quindell in 2015.
The Australian firm’s shares were down 5 per cent last week after Australia’s equivalent of the FCA announced that it was looking into whether Slater and Gordon had “deliberately falsified or manipulated” its financial records and accounts. That meant that firm’s share price was at AUS$0.23 before the start of the Christmas holidays.
In an announcement on the Australian stock exchange last week, the firm said that it had been served with two notices by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission to produce documents relating to an investigation by the Commission into the accuracy of its financial record and accounts between 1 December 2014 and 29 September 2015. The firm said that it had to reveal them in full by early January 2017.
In its statement, Slater and Gordon said: “In particular, the ASIC investigation seeks to determine whether those financial records and accounts were deliberately falsified or manipulated and whether the Company or any of its officers have committed offences.”
“ASIC has stated that these Notices should not be construed as an indication by ASIC that a contravention of the law has occured and nor should they be considered a reflection upon any person or entity.
The firm said that it would “fully cooperate” with the Commission and so that the investigation could be completed as soon as “reasonably possible”.