Uniti Group has come out in defence of its executive director Vaughan Bowen following news of his impending court case for alleged insider trading.
The publicly listed broadband company has released a statement to shareholders saying Bowen emphatically denies the allegations and will be vigorously defending the matter.
Uniti stated that “this matter does not relate to trading in [its own] shares”. The Adelaide-based company also said it does not intend to change Bowen’s board role until “the outcome of this matter has been determined”.
The news comes a day after Bowen, of Brighton, Victoria, appeared via his legal representative in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court, charged with two counts of insider trading.
The charges relate to Bowen’s disposal of 5,617,554 shares in Vocus Group on 4 June 2019, when Swedish private equity firm EQT Infrastructure IV Fund put in a A$2.3 billion offer to acquire all shares in Vocus.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) alleges that at that time, Bowen was in possession of inside information concerning the likely withdrawal of EQT’s bid to buy Vocus’ shares, prior to this information being announced to the market.
Each charge of insider trading, which comes under section 1043A of the Corporations Act 2001, carries a maximum penalty of 15 years’ imprisonment.
The matter is being prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions and has been listed for a committal mention hearing in the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria at Melbourne on 7 December 2021.