Commonwealth Bank crypto launch faces delays, Rio Tinto takes control of Russian-held project interests

Commonwealth Bank crypto Rio Tinto ASX CBA IGO RIO WBC WSA ASX
The Commonwealth Bank's crypto ambitions have been held back, meanwhile Westpac has been hit with fines for mis-selling consumer credit insurance.

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s (ASX: CBA) pioneering move to float its first crypto product might face some delays.

Stock market regulator Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) commissioner Cathie Armour recently was quoted as saying the Commonwealth Bank needs to follow a number of rules, leading to speculation that the bank’s crypto launch might take a while longer.

Last November, the bank had announced it would offer crypto services to customers and had entered into a partnership with crypto exchange Gemini.

The bank’s stock gained 0.69% over the week, to close at $105.50 on the Australian Securities Exchange, marginally lower than the S&P/ASX 200 Banks index, which gained 0.73%.

IGO

Australian nickel and lithium miner IGO Limited (ASX: IGO) indicated that its $1.1 billion takeover plan of nickel producer Western Areas (ASX: WSA) might fall through after an independent study did not favour the acquisition, citing it as “neither fair nor reasonable”.

IGO stock, which had a steep rally over the last year gaining 103%, lost 6.8% over the week following this development.

An unprecedented rise in nickel prices following the Russian conflict, coupled with an ambitious short-term bet by a large Chinese producer that exacerbated the market volatility could have gone against the transaction, local media reports said.

Rio Tinto

Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO) has taken full control of alumina refinery Queensland Alumina Limited (QAL), in which Russian oligarchs held stakes.

This follows the recent Australian sanctions on the Russian pair Oleg Deripaska and Viktor Vekselberg, who held 20% interest in QAL via their affiliated entity En+ Group, a London-listed resources company.

Rio Tinto confirmed in a statement that its now 100% ownership of QAL was a result of the Australian government’s sanction measures and is “until further notice”.

“Our focus remains on ensuring the continued safe operation of QAL, as a significant employer and contributor to the local Gladstone and Queensland economies,” the company said.

Rio Tinto stock gained 0.49% to close at $119.32 on Friday.

Westpac Banking Corporation

Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX: WBC) was slapped a penalty of $1.5 million by ASIC for mis-selling consumer credit insurance. Details shared by the market regulator revealed that the bank issued consumer credit insurance policies to 141 customers who did not request the product during the period April to July 2015.

The bank had successfully concluded a $3.5 billion stock buyback last month to improve its capital efficiency and shareholder value.

The bank stock lost 0.12% to close at $24.08 on Friday.

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