ASIC clears Rebels and Rugby AU of wrongdoing

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission has cleared the Melbourne Rebels and Rugby Australia of any wrongdoing after a lengthy investigation into the transfer of Rebels' ownership in 2015.

ASIC launched a probe after last year’s senate inquiry into the closure of the Western Force by Rugby Australia.

That inquiry, led by WA senator Linda Reynolds, recommended ASIC look into the evidence of the Rebels ownership transfer deal in 2015, and Rugby Australia’s financial practices. 

After an almost eight-month long investigation, beginning last November, an ASIC spokesman confirmed on Friday that their panel had found no case for the rugby organisations to answer.

ASIC commissioner John Price led the investigation and told a parliamentary committee on Friday that the body had examined the issue exhaustively and ‘there was no evidence to warrant further action’.

“We looked at it, gave it a lot of resources, given the considerable interest in it and we did not find any evidence to warrant taking further action,” the spokesman said.

Rugby AU, the Melbourne Rebels and the Western Force and the senate committee that put the investigation forward have all been notified of the conclusion of the investigation.

A Rugby Australia spokesman confirmed on Friday that the organisation had been made aware of the verdict.

The investigation’s findings will come as a relief to the national body, after a long court battle with the Force followed by the senate inquiry last September.