By Robert Carry

Centro Properties Group may be heading for court after lawyers representing a group of investors currently involved in a $1bn class action suit against the company withdrew from a mediation process.

According to The Australian Financial Review, the move follows a decision by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) to request permission from the Federal Court to issue its own proceedings against the Centro board members who signed off on its 2007 accounts. If successful, the ASIC move could see targeted board members hit with major fines and management bans.

“We've been saying for 18 months that Centro's behaviour with regard to debt miss-classification was an act of serious corporate misconduct and what is set out in the ASIC proceedings vindicates that view very strongly,” said Martin Hyde, senior associate with the litigation firm representing the shareholders.