SYDNEY – An anti-coal activist has been charged with issuing a fake press release that temporarily wiped more than 300 million Australian dollars ($276 million) from the share price of Whitehaven Coal.
Jonathan Moylan, 25, faced a Sydney court Tuesday on a charge of contravening the Corporations Act by disseminating false information to the market. He faces a maximum 10 years in prison, a fine of up to AU$765,000 or both if convicted.
Moylan, from the anti-coal mining group Front Line Action on Coal, allegedly sent a press release in January purporting to be from major lender ANZ Bank, claiming it had withdrawn AU$1.2 billion in funding for Whitehaven’s flagship Maules Creek mine. The hoax, which was reported by the media, saw Whitehaven’s share price tank 8.8 percent before a trading halt was called.