Speaking before a parliamentary committee on Friday, Mr Shipton confirmed that the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) had found that the $118,557 in taxation-related expenses paid to him by ASIC to relocate from the United States to Australia exceeded the limits set within the relevant Remuneration Tribunal Determinations.
Similarly, Daniel Crennan was also placed under the microscope after it was revealed that he, too, received $69,621 for his relocation from Melbourne to Sydney.
In a statement issued by Mr Shipton on Friday, he noted that he will voluntarily reimburse ASIC for the expenses the corporate regulator paid following his 2018 relocation from the US.
“At all times during consideration of this matter, I have been mindful of the need to avoid any conflict of interest,” Mr Shipton said.
“I have advised the Treasurer this afternoon that, in the circumstances, it is appropriate to stand aside pending the outcome of the review.
“While I believe that I have acted properly and appropriately in this matter, I hold myself to the highest possible standard.”
Mr Crennan followed Mr Shipton’s move and on Monday announced he, too, is resigning.
“In the current circumstances, I have decided that it is in the best interests of ASIC for me to resign now,” Mr Crennan said.
“In order to ensure that ASIC’s important work is not disrupted, I will remain available to facilitate the orderly transfer of work to my successor.”
In a separate statement on Friday, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg revealed that he was made aware of the concerns by the Auditor-General on Thursday.
“Specifically, the Auditor-General has indicated that during the 2019–20 financial statements audit of ASIC, the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) identified payments made on behalf of the ASIC chair, Mr James Shipton, relating to taxation advice, and deputy chair, Mr Dan Crennan QC, relating to housing expenses that he considered may exceed the limits set in the Remuneration Determination made by the Remuneration Tribunal and that there were also identified instances where the Commonwealth Procurement Rules were not followed,” Mr Frydenberg said.
The Treasurer confirmed that an independent review will be undertaken by Dr Vivienne Thom and completed by the end of this year.
“Following the review, Treasury will advise me on the findings of the review and any further course of action that may be appropriate,” he said.