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Criminal offences

There are many offences under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth). The following is a list of the most common types of offences:

  • failure by companies to file the appropriate returns ASIC
  • failure by directors to disclose any conflict of interest they may have involving transactions of the company
  • improper use of position by a director or officer of the corporation (for example, the secretary) to gain an advantage for her or himself or to a person other than the corporation
  • dishonest conduct on the part of a director or officer of the corporation with respect to the discharge of her or his duties
  • managing a corporation whilst disqualified from doing so under the Corporations Act 2001(Cth)
  • misleading or false statements by promoters of companies to potential investors or failure to disclose information in accordance with the Corporations Act 2001(Cth) requirements
  • share hawking by an unlicensed person
  • failure of a securities or investment adviser to act honestly and in the best interests of the client
  • market manipulation in relation to securities traded on the Australian Stock Exchange
  • insider trading, that is dealing in securities whilst in possession of price sensitive information that is not generally available

Most of these breaches attract significant penalties under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) . Whilst there is some overlap between of breaches of the Corporations Act 2001(Cth) and the Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 (SA), a prosecution will be usually be brought under only one Act, not both.

In addition, certain contraventions, such as the failure by a director of a company to take all reasonable steps to ensure that their company keeps proper accounting records and directors failing to prevent their company trading whilst insolvent, constitute civil contraventions for which a court may impose a pecuniary penalty of up to $200 000, prohibit the person from managing a corporation and order he person to pay compensation.

Criminal offences  :  Last Revised: Thu Aug 16th 2012
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.