The Australian High Court has cleared the founder of the Fortescue Metals Group, Andrew Forrest, of allegations that he misled investors. Had he lost the six-year case, brought by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), he could have been banned as a company director.
ASIC had filed a civil suit against Mr Forrest over comments he made in 2004 and 2005, when it was alleged that he misled investors when he said he had “framework agreements” with Chinese government entities to build FMG’s iron ore project in the Pilbara, agreements which were never fulfilled. Mr Forrest was chief executive of Fortescue at the time, he’s now the chairman.
In its judgment, the High Court said ASIC’s statement of claim was confused because it combined allegations of fraud with allegations of negligent misrepresentations.
The High Court’s decision represents a major defeat for ASIC and they warned that the continuous disclosure system ““ which requires companies to keep the market informed of material information ““ needed to be reviewed given the judgement.
Fortescue will now be putting all their energies into upcoming mining projects and creating mining jobs, rather than making lawyers and barristers even more wealthy.
Allegations “an expensive distraction”
In a statement to ASIC, Fortescue Metals deputy chairman Herb Elliott said the High Court decision on Tuesday brought “an end to an eight-year long process that ASIC thought was appropriate but was ultimately determined to be wrong”.
“ASIC`s allegations have been an expensive distraction. We can now focus our full attention to ensuring the continued success of Fortescue Metals Group for many years to come,” he said.
What this means for people looking to get into the mines is, with this court case out of the way, Fortescue can now focus on its Pilbara iron ore mining projects. Distractions such as long drawn out court cases can be detrimental to the growth of any business. Fortescue’s iron ore projects in the Chichester Ranges in the Pilbara, which have been earmarked for expansion including the Soloman, Christmas Creek and Cloudbreak mining projects present the ideal opportunities for FIFO mining jobs in the Pilbara.
Mining jobs for South Australia – Woomera