Hoaxer defends fake ANZ letter
Anti-coal activist Johathan Moylan says he published a fake ANZ press release regarding Whitehaven Coal in order to inform ANZ investors.
The man whose hoax temporarily wiped $314 million off the value of Whitehaven Coal is yet to speak with investigators from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission despite multiple calls from the corporate watchdog.
Anti-coal campaigner Jonathan Moylan said ASIC representatives had left messages for him over the past 24 hours, but for now he was seeking legal advice over what to do next.
Jonathon Moylan, whose hoax press release caused a slump in Whitehaven Coal shares. Photo: Kitty Hill
Mr Moylan caused the stunt on Monday when he released a hoax press release that fooled some investors and media.
The false press release claimed to be from ANZ, and suggested the bank had decided to cancel a $1.2 billion loan that had been given to Whitehaven in December. The loan was designed to help Whitehaven build a new coal mine near Narrabri in New South Wales, and Mr Moylan has been part of a protest camp in a national park close to the proposed mine site for almost 160 days now.
The group is concerned about the impact the local mine will have on the environment and nearby farm land.
Jonathan Moylan and Steve Denshire were arrested for scaling a Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group (NCIG) conveyor belt at Kooragang in August 2011.
The stunt caused Whitehaven's share price to tumble by more than 8 per cent on Monday afternoon, before recovering to be close to its pre-hoax levels by the close of trading on Monday.
The incident has caused a storm of outrage, with ASIC making enquiries into whether Mr Moylan has committed a criminal offence relating to misleading and deceptive statements under the corporations law.
But despite its efforts, ASIC is yet to make contact with Mr Moylan.
"I will stay where I've been for the last 157 days, but if anyone wants to come and find me they know where I am, I am not hiding, I am quite happy to take responsibility," he said.
Struggling coal baron Nathan Tinkler is the biggest shareholder in Whitehaven, and when asked if he had a message for Mr Tinkler, Mr Moylan urged him to give up his obsession with coal.
"Invest in renewables or anything else,'' said Mr Moylan.
"There are plenty of ways that Nathan Tinkler can invest his money rather than screwing over a local community and destroying a state forest."
Whitehaven shares were 2 cents lower at $3.48 shortly before 1.30pm on Tuesday.