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Australia's banking regulator investigated ANZ's loan to Oswals

Australia's banking regulator looked into 'slending to business couple Pankaj and Radhika Oswal over the authenticity ofsome of the bank's documents, TheAustralian reported July 21.

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority asked thebank in 2009 to investigate the management of the couple's accounts in relationto their Burrup Fertilisers business, court documents revealed. The regulator wasconcerned about the authenticity of signatures on security documents that allowthe bank to call on the Oswals' offshore assets if they default on their loans.

ANZ subsequently commissioned a handwriting expert toinvestigate and found that the bank was the victim of fake securities. The bankthen communicated the matter to the Australian Securities and InvestmentsCommission and police.

ANZ and the Oswals are in the midst of legal over the Oswals' Burrupbusiness. The couple accused ANZ of seizing their 65% stake in the fertilizercompany and then selling it for less than its market value in 2010. ANZ, forits part, accused the couple of misappropriating A$150 million from thebusiness and spending it on personal purchases such as cars and private jets.

A mediator has been attempting to reconcile the two partiesbut if talks fail, the case will return to court.

As of July 20, US$1was equivalent to A$1.34.