A hoax media release, complete with the ANZ logothat said Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd (ANZ.AX) had withdrawn a A$1.2 billion loan to Whitehaven Coal Ltd (WHC.AX) sinking the miner's shares by as much as 9 percent at one stage.
The hoax by anti-mining campaigner Jonathan Moylan caused Whitehaven to suspend trading in its shares. Investors sold Whitehaven shares on concerns that the Whitehaven project will bite the dust just like other mining investments in Australia.
However, the shares recovered after Australian environmental activists claimed responsibility for distributing the fake media release.
ANZ Bank and Whitehaven each issued statements saying the release was a hoax.
Moylan’s concerns are somewhat different in nature. "The future of our farmlands, our forests, our health, our climate, these are the biggest threats humanity faces and they are far more important than concerns over liability," he said.
Moylan also said the stunt was to alert ANZ’s customers to the bank’s investments.
The Australian Securities Investment Commission (ASIC) said it would be investigating whether there had been a breach of Corporations Act rules on false or misleading statements.
"If there appears to be a breach ASIC will investigate and take appropriate action," ASIC spokesman Daniel Wright said.