James Hardie directors have penalties reduced

THE former James Hardie directors who were disqualified from managing companies for releasing misleading information about an asbestos fund have had their penalties reduced.

In May the High Court upheld an appeal by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and found the former directors and executives had misled investors with a press release that claimed an asbestos compensation fund was "fully funded" to meet claims against it.

ASIC appealed after the NSW Court of Appeal overturned the original decision of Supreme Court judge Ian Gzell, who found the directors and executive had breached their duties.

Justice Gzell originally imposed a five-year ban on all the non-executive directors and chief financial officer of James Hardie, a seven-year ban on the company secretary and general counsel Peter Shafron, and a 15-year ban on former chief executive Peter Macdonald.

In his original judgment, Justice Gzell was scathing about the credibility of some of the directors' evidence, particularly that of Meredith Hellicar.

Read more at ABC news online.


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